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How Radwan has gone from 'worst running technique ever' to England

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Alex Davidson/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

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New England winger Adam Radwan has described some of the measures that he took to help turn him from an unorthodox club novice into a potential Test rugby superstar in the making. It was 2016 when the now 23-year-old first skipped in through the door at Newcastle but his gait came in some initial ridicule.


Kevin McShane, the Newcastle head of athletic performance, held nothing back when first assessing the teenager who played for the club in that year’s Premiership 7s before spending some time at Darlington Mowden Park and then stepping into the Falcons senior academy in 2017.

McShane claimed Radwan possessed “probably the worst running technique” he had ever seen from a back, a considerable claim given that the coach had been working at Newcastle since 2008 where he began as an academy strength and conditioning coach before making his way through the ranks.

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That must have felt like a huge put-down for the then-teenager, but the criticism became the catalyst that has since turned Radwan into a long-term England prospect after he announced his arrival on the Test rugby stage with a stunning hat-trick in his debut appearance last July.

Despite sitting out this Saturday’s away Premiership trip to Gloucester with what Newcastle describe as a “minor knee problem”, Radwan is in the 34-strong England squad that will head to Jersey next Monday to begin preparations for next month’s series featuring Twickenham matches against Tonga, Australia and South Africa.

He will go there with a technique that he has put plenty of hours into harnessing since that first day when McShane delivered his damning critique. “It has got better but there are definitely still improvements to be made,” said Radwan when asked by RugbyPass how different his running style is now compared to those innocent first steps at Newcastle some years ago.


“We still do loads of work on it. Kev still does loads of work with me and I still aim to get quicker. When I first came when I was running I didn’t really lift my feet up off the floor. I just kind of scuttled across the floor so that was a big one, lifting my knees up a bit more and getting a bit more force through them.

“At first it was a little bit strange (doing that) because you have to change the way you had been running for quite a while. I watched a clip recently with Kev of when I first came here and now I am running totally different. I don’t really feel it [the difference] now, it’s just the way I run now.”

What has also altered is the weight Radwan is tipping the Falcons scales with. “When I first came to Newcastle I was about 80 or 81kgs maybe and now I am about 89, between 88 and 90, so I have put on a little bit of weight. I have probably grown a bit, probably got a bit taller.”



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