It’s been a long time coming, but Saints fly-half Stephen Myler is determined to make the most of his England chance over the next few weeks.
The 28-year-old has received his first call-up to the senior England squad for the tour to Uruguay and Argentina.
A regular on the England Saxons scene in recent years, senior international recognition had always passed Myler by.
But with Owen Farrell on British & Irish Lions tour duty, and Toby Flood being rested, Myler has been handed a chance to impress England coach Stuart Lancaster.
England play their first match of the tour on Sunday when they take on a CONSUR XV in Montevideo, before heading off to Argentina for Tests against the Pumas on June 8 and 15.
And Myler, who starts this weekend’s game at fly-half ahead of Gloucester’s Freddie Burns, is determined to show what he can do.
“I am massively looking forward to the tour,” said Myler, who joins fellow Saints Ben Foden, Lee Dickson, Courtney Lawes, Tom Wood and Luther Burrell in the England party, with Wood the skipper.
“I had tried not to think of it too much ahead of the game (Premiership final) last Saturday, as I was concentrating on that.
“But I am hugely excited to be involved, and hopefully I can get some good game time under my belt and contribute to a successful tour.
“It is really exciting for me and Luther Burrell in particular, and I am really thrilled to be part of the set-up.
Myler has been a regular starting fly-half in Premiership and Heineken Cup rugby for Saints for the past five years, and admits it has been a frustration that the senior England call hadn’t come.
“It (an England call) is obviously something I have been targeting, but I have struggled, for whatever reason, to get in,” said the Saints man.
“But I am on a tour now and that is all I am thinking of, just trying to be a positive influence on the squad, and just trying to get my teeth into it, and to enjoy it.
“It is occasions like the final last Saturday, and England tours abroad, that are good pedestals to put yourself on and to showcase what you can do.”
It has been a long, hard season for Myler, as it has for all the Saints players, but he says he is more than happy to keep on playing.
“The beach can wait,” said Myler.
“I am ready for action. I don’t really want the off-season to come, and I would rather carry on.
“There are three games left for me this season hopefully, and I am ready to give it my all.”