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McGeechan backs under-fire Bath centre Shontayne Hape

Shontayne Hape
Hape played rugby league for New Zealand before switching codes

Bath performance director Sir Ian McGeechan has defended England centre Shontayne Hape following criticism of his display in the win over Wales.

Hape, 29, made his first Six Nations start in the 26-19 win in Cardiff but was at fault for the hosts' only try.

McGeechan told BBC Radio Bristol: "No player comes through 100% error free and I thought a lot of his performance was very good.

"He put himself about and had a lot to do in the way England played."

Hape admitted in January that he was going through a slump in form after some strong performances in the autumn internationals.

Of the former New Zealand rugby league international, fellow Bath and England centre Olly Barkley said: "He's got a good game to stack up for international rugby, he's very strong and runs hard and tackles well.

"You can't please everyone as people have different ideas on how you should play the game."

And Barkley, who part of the England side that toured Australia and New Zealand in the summer of 2010, still has hopes of adding to his tally of 23 caps.

"I've agreed terms here [at Bath] for another two years and many things contributed to me staying and the England thing was one of them," he added.

"It's such a cliche as you hear it all the time, but if you play well for your club consistently maybe things will happen."



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