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England have paid Sale a terrific compliment about Bevan Rodd

By Liam Heagney

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England assistant coach Matt Proudfoot have paid Sale a terrific compliment after Bevan Rodd, the Gallagher Premiership club’s loosehead, came through his Test level debut last Saturday with limited preparation having only joined Eddie Jones’ squad as a midweek call-up. The 21-year-old has been overlooked by Jones when the Jersey training camp and matchweek squads versus Tonga and Australia were originally named.

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However, that situation quickly changed on Tuesday afternoon last week when it was decided to call in the youthful rookie to replace the virus-stricken Joe Marler rather than make a call to the seasoned Mako Vunipola. 

Rodd was named on the England bench on the Thursday behind Ellis Genge but the youngster’s dramatic leap up the pecking order didn’t end there as he was promoted to the No1 starting loosehead jersey on Friday morning after Genge was ruled out for the same reason that Marler was unavailable. 

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It left England in a somewhat vulnerable looking position, Rodd packing down against an Australian prop who had played 112 times for his country. However, any trepidation that the loosehead might be found wanting was quickly dispelled and he is now in line to make his second England start this weekend versus the Springboks as Genge will miss the match through isolation while Marler is only free to start training again with the squad at Friday’s captain’s run.  

“A big part of the England set-up is resilience,” explained scrum coach Proudfoot when it was suggested to him by RugbyPass that the successful week Rodd enjoyed at such short notice reflected well on the English set-up.  

“Every setback is an opportunity for us. Every situation is an opportunity, You either attack it or you let the opportunity dictate the outcome and it is Eddie’s philosophy that is brought into the team so whatever happens, we see it as an opportunity and Bevan just showed that mindset, that whatever comes we are resilient, we attack the opportunity and we made the best out of it. Bevan had been in in June, had trained really well and played really well for Sale. When a player is well-coached the way he is at Sale and then comes in and creates an opportunity and just has that mindset to be resilient, then things can happen for him and that is exactly what happened on Saturday.”

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How potent the England scrum was against the Wallabies didn’t go unnoticed by Springboks boss Jacques Nienaber, who praised the set-piece the world champions are now set to face at Twickenham. “We are improving,” agreed Proudfoot.

“It was an adaptation to bring in the two late replacements (Rodd and sub Trevor Davison) and they did incredibly well. We had a really good plan against Australia and I thought the players executed well. Around our binding, around our engagement, we can be a lot more accurate and that is what we worked on this week.”

Proudfoot added that his own emotions were irrelevant in this Autumn Nations series finale. It was 24 months ago when he coached the Springboks scrum to World Cup final dominance against England but he has since changed sides. 

“This is the most important game of the year for us. We have worked really hard this summer to put together and bring together a lot of younger boys and then brought it through into the autumn so our team is growing, our team is developing and this is the most important hurdle for us, the final game. 

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“We want to end the year on a high, we want to end it with a bang so we are putting everything into this game. I don’t think  I particularly have got emotions. My emotions are about getting this team to where we want it to be and for it to be successful and this is the game we have got to do it in.”

 

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