Banahan: Fatherhood can wait till after World Cup

ENGLAND’S Matt Banahan insists he is ready to sacrifice witnessing his new son’s first few weeks if it means achieving his World Cup dream.

Bath star Banahan, who can play at centre but has been tipped to feature on the wing against Wales on Saturday, is less than three months into fatherhood.

But the 24-year-old admits he has to put family commitments on the backburner as he strives for a place in Martin Johnson’s final 30-man squad.

“It’s tough when I go home,” said the Channel Islander.

“But that’s part and parcel of life, you’ve got to take all the stuff on the chin and live with it. There are people in the world with a lot tougher lives so playing rugby and having a son isn’t too tough. There are a lot of dads in the squad – so we all know how each other feel.”

Johnson will today name his team to face Wales, the first of three World Cup warm-ups, with a return trip to the Millenium Stadium followed by a clash with Ireland in Dublin.

Fit-again flanker Lewis Moody is expected to resume the captaincy, while Johnson is likely to experiment as he looks to trim his party from 40 down to 30 by 22 August.

He axed five, including 2003 World Cup winner Joe Worsley and Saracens wing David Strettle, from his training squad earlier this week.