Comment: Nick Isiekwe shows he is the next Saracens lock ready to star for England after impressing against Barbarians
PUBLISHED: 09:00 31 May 2017
PA Wire/PA Images
Sarries teenager scored a try in an impressive display against the Baa-Baas
Maro Itoje may not be on England duty this summer as he flies out with the British & Irish Lions squad to New Zealand this week, but another Saracens lock gave a glimpse of the future for the Red Roses at the weekend.
At just 19, Nick Isiekwe was making his first start for England in their non-cap match against the Barbarians in their Old Mutual Wealth Cup clash.
The Sarries youngster was presented with his chance with England shorn of their Lions stars, as well as those playing for Northampton Saints, Wasps and Exeter Chiefs – all of whom had games over the weekend.
Thrust together with Bath second row Charlie Ewels, himself just 21 and with only three caps to his name, Isiekwe had to contend with the experienced pair of Patricio Albacete and Jeremy Thursh, who turned out for the Baa-Baas.
In front of a crowd of 51,636 at Twickenham, Isiekwe showed no signs of stage fright, competing well at the lineout and in open play too.
The teenager also showed good anticipation to be in the right place at the right time, taking a pass from Ewels to run in for a try on his debut.
That was England’s second of the afternoon after club colleague Nathan Earle had scored the opener.
For his effort midway through the first half, Earle showed good support play to keep pace after popping a pass to Sam James, before taking a return ball from the Sale Sharks centre to dot down.
Earle’s work in defence was equally as impressive, putting in a crunching hit on club mate Alex Goode, one of two Sarries turning out for the Barbarians, the other being Schalk Brits.
Both Isiekwe and Earle did their chances of starting the first Test in Argentina on June 10 no harm, but the same cannot be said for poor Alex Lozowski, who went off injured after just 14 minutes, but is expected to be fit to tour, unlike Richard Wigglesworth, who came on as a replacement having joined the squad to swell numbers.
As for Goode and Brits, they will surely have enjoyed a run out for rugby’s traditional entertainers at the end of another long season.
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