Toby Flood Defends His Decision To Give Up World Cup Opportunity To Sign For Toulouse
Toby Flood has backed the decision he took to forfeit his England World Cup chance by joining French giants Toulouse.
Flood goes head-to-head with George Ford on Sunday in the clash of England”s past and present fly-halves when Bath visit the four-time European champions.
For Flood, it is a reminder of the risk he would have taken had he turned down his dream move to Europe”s top club.
"My biggest “what if” was what if I stay in order to play in the World Cup and six months down the line George, Owen Farrell and Danny Cipriani have overtaken me?" he said.
"Of course you”re going to back yourself to play, but you”ve also got to be pragmatic. I could have missed the World Cup and missed my chance. I would then always have regretted that."
The 29-year-old, who kept Ford out of the team when both were at Leicester, has endured an injury-hit start to his Toulouse career.
But he already speaks French, has settled into the lifestyle and is spearheading a team unbeaten at the top of Pool 4.
"I felt it was my last chance to do this. To not just dip my toe in the water but really dive in and see where it takes me," he added.
"I knew the Premiership and the way the teams played from being at Leicester for six years. Playing fly-half you have to immerse yourself in all that.
GettyBurden: Flood admits playing for Toulouse brings expectation
"I wanted to come away and play in a competition that was really going to take me out of my comfort zone. It”s done that.
"I came out telling myself I had to take the rough with the smooth, knowing there would be moments I would be frustrated. But not once have I sat here and thought I really shouldn”t have made this decision. It”s been good fun."
Flood, who won 60 caps for England between 2006-14, appearing in two World Cups, admits that playing for Toulouse comes with a burden of expectation.
"We always talked at Leicester about how those European days were really special, and they were," he said. "But you can just feel the sense of pressure, of expectation, of demand here.
"For us to be four wins from four in our Champions Cup group, not really having had that great a season (lost eight) in the Top 14, is a testament to the mentality of the team before the European rounds."
Kyle Eastmond returns to the Bath midfield as partner to Jonathan Joseph, in place of Sam Burgess. Their combination with Ford has given the West Country club”s backline real potency this term.
"George has always had the potential to be an outstanding player," said Flood. "He was probably simmering when he was at Leicester, showing glimpses of what he can do but maybe not quite hitting the heights he wanted.
"Now he”s just on fire all the time. He”s got a real ability to do what he wants. We are going to have to watch him very closely."
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