Banahan hits out at critics
Matt Banahan hopes to have silenced his critics after scoring one try and creating another in England's 26-13 win against Samoa.
Last Updated: 21/11/10 3:29pm
Matt Banahan hopes to have silenced his critics after scoring one try and creating another in England's 26-13 win against Samoa on Saturday.
Eyebrows were raised when the towering back, who usually plays on the wing for club side Bath, was named in the starting XV at outside centre.
But Banahan showed his powerful running can also be effective in midfield as he scored England's first try of the match after a move involving Shontayne Hape and Chris Ashton
The 23-year-old then showed off his handling skills as he stole an interception before neatly offloading to Danny Care, who played in Tom Croft to cross the try-line.
And Banahan thinks that his overall display proves that he has what it takes to shine at his new position.
"I'd like to ask them (the critics) and see if they have got any more doubts," he said.
"I have always got confidence in myself and the coaches have confidence in me, that is why they play me there. Now I would like to see if those people still doubt me.
"If they don't think I can play 13 that is their opinion but I did my best and hopefully I did enough after that first 15 minutes of shaky time.
"The Bath coaches said to me, 'You've got the skills, go and prove it' and for the last four weeks with England I have been running at 13 and getting my lines."
Banahan paid tribute on Hape, his partner in the centres, but insisted that he called the move that led to the hosts' opening try at Twickenham.
He said: "I thought Shontayne was brilliant today (Saturday). I think he's getting all the praise for that try but I called that move.
"That's the confidence that's going through the team. We've got leaders and that's where the trust is coming. If I see something outside that's on then he'll trust my call.
"It's what you see in front of you and it's the skill running for the line. It was just a whole team effort try."
Of Croft's try, he added: "I got in the passing channel and when their guy tried to throw it over the top of me I thought, 'This is either going out or into my hands'," Banahan recalled.
"Then I saw Danny Care inside of me so I thought I'd flick it to him. I thought he was going to pin his ears back and go for the line. But Tom Croft again showed people can raise the tempo coming off the bench."