Alex Moon: Northampton Lock eyes England’s World Cup place

Alex Moon came through Northampton academy and made his first-team debut in 2016

Northampton lock Alex Moon is targeting a place at the 2023 World Cup after being inspired by watching Alex Coles and Dave Ribbans play for England.

His teammates appeared for England at the Autumn Internationals.

And Moon, 26, believes if he can now surpass them at club level there is a chance he could make the squad for next year’s World Cup in France.

“Colesy has been playing wonderfully for a year and a half and Dave for four years,” he told BBC Radio Northampton.

“It lets you know the selection is open and if you get past those boys at the club the selectors will see it. The opportunity is there and it kinda lights a fire under your butt.”

Moon has played international rugby at under-20 level and has been selected for past England camps, having had no chance in the senior team.

“Every time I was at camp I couldn’t play and so you look at it and say ‘oh, I wish I was there right now, I wish that was me’.

“During the off-season I had a discussion with my family and my girlfriend and we were looking forward to the World Cup and we said it was a clear goal to achieve. Let’s work towards that.”

“Being lighter allows me to work more”

Moon has made 85 appearances for the Saints, including 10 this season, and believes losing weight has gotten him back to his best.

“Over the past two years I was headed in the wrong direction in terms of the player I was trying to be. I got too carried away with being a big lock and was playing 128 kilos and I was trying to be a Joe Launchbury or a Will Skelton and that’s not really my game,” he said.

“I lost a stone. I’m now the lightest I’ve been since 2019-20 and it’s allowed me to do so much more work and I haven’t lost the collision aspect, which I thought that I was going to lose.

“My buzzwords in matches have been ‘be quick’, get across the line out fast, get into the mauls fast, get into the rucks fast and that takes out any overthinking I used to have in my game. It allows me to play instinctively and go and do things.”

Northampton return to the Premiership on Saturday against Gloucester at Kingsholm.

They are fourth in the table but have scored more points – 260 – than any side except leaders Saracens. However, their 280 conceded are the highest in the league.

Moon, however, has no concerns about their expansive style.

“At the end of the day, I’m in the entertainment industry. People pay to watch our product in the field. It’s the same as an actor, it’s the same as a singer,” said he added.

“I don’t think we go out at the start of every week to be the most entertaining team ever, we go out to play our form because we know it works, and do what we do at scrum and to the lineout because it works, and our D setup, and it ends up making entertaining plays at the back.”

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