Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global
NZ NZ

'Steve's seen something': England A verdict on Charlie Atkinson

By Liam Heagney
Gloucester's Charlie Atkinson (Photo by Bob Bradford/CameraSport via Getty Images)

George Skivington expects good things from Charlie Atkinson when his Gloucester newcomer leads the England A team at out-half in Sunday’s fixture versus Portugal in Leicester.

ADVERTISEMENT

The 22-year-old was a Christmas Eve arrival at Kingsholm from Leicester and despite only playing one match so far with his latest club, the ex-Wasps academy graduate has been named at No10 for his country.

Atkinson was a Steve Borthwick signing at the Tigers during the 2022/23 season after the collapse of Wasps. He went on to make 17 appearances at the club that soon appointed Richard Wigglesworth as interim boss after Borthwick became the England head coach.

Video Spacer

Jesse Kriel on the Springboks’ rush defence | RPTV

Springbok Jesse Kriel discusses the famed rush defence and the pros of mastering it. Watch the full chat exclusively on RugbyPass TV

Watch now

Video Spacer

Jesse Kriel on the Springboks’ rush defence | RPTV

Springbok Jesse Kriel discusses the famed rush defence and the pros of mastering it. Watch the full chat exclusively on RugbyPass TV

Watch now

However, with Wiglesworth having now also moved on to join England, Atkinson slipped down the pecking order at Leicester under Dan McKellar, playing just four times this season before his festive period switch to Gloucester.

He made a late January debut versus Sale in the Gallagher Premiership and four weeks after that maiden outing, he is now primed to play for England A with his club boss Skivington as the head coach for the Mattioli Woods Welford Road game.

“At Gloucester, we are really lucky to have got Charlie over from Leicester,” reckoned Skivington when asked how he rated seeing Atkinson in a different environment this week to Kingsholm.

“He is still fairly fresh in the building. He has done a lot of training now but only played one game for us so far, which he was good in. But I think he has grown into that role.

ADVERTISEMENT

“There is a good opportunity at Gloucester for him at half-back, we want to try and make that position a bit more competitive and there is a good opportunity for him to take it and run with it.

“But I think he has come into this week and it’s a good opportunity for him. Steve was obviously the one who signed him at Leicester before he went to England, so Steve has seen something in him that he likes and he has done well.

“He has come in here, different group, has called the plays well; he has led without being overboard with that and it’s a good opportunity for him.

“He has just jumped from one environment, ours at Gloucester, to here – he’s getting used to that and it’s a big opportunity for him because he is held in high regard.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Related

ADVERTISEMENT

Join free

Chasing The Sun | Series 1 Episode 1

Fresh Starts | Episode 1 | Will Skelton

ABBIE WARD: A BUMP IN THE ROAD

Aotearoa Rugby Podcast | Episode 9

James Cook | The Big Jim Show | Full Episode

New Zealand victorious in TENSE final | Cathay/HSBC Sevens Day Three Men's Highlights

New Zealand crowned BACK-TO-BACK champions | Cathay/HSBC Sevens Day Three Women's Highlights

Japan Rugby League One | Bravelupus v Steelers | Full Match Replay

Trending on RugbyPass

Comments

Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free
ADVERTISEMENT

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

P
Poorfour 4 hours ago
The AI advantage: How the next two Rugby World Cups will be won

AI models are really just larger and less transparent variants of the statistical models that have been in use since Moneyball was invented. And a big difference between the Icahn centre’s results and AI today is that ChatGPT-like Large Language Models can explain (to some degree) how they reached their conclusions. In terms of what impact they will have, I suspect it will have two primary impacts: 1) It will place a premium on coaching creativity 2) It will lead to more selections that baffle fans and pundits. Analysts will be able to run the models both ways: they will see their own team’s and players’ weaknesses and strengths as well as the opposition’s. So they will have a good idea at what the other team will be targeting and the decisive difference may well be which coaches are smart enough to think of a gameplan that the other side didn’t identify and prepare for. For players, it places a premium on three key things: 1) Having a relatively complete game with no major weaknesses (or the dedication to work on eliminating them) 2) Having the tactical flexibility to play a different game every week 3) Having a point of difference that is so compelling that there isn’t a defence for it. (3) is relatively rare even among pro players. There have been only a handful of players over the years where you knew what they were going to do and the problem was stopping it - Lomu would be the classic example. And even when someone does have that, it’s hard to sustain. Billy Vunipola in his prime was very hard to stop, but fell away quite badly when the toll on his body began to accumulate. So coaches will look for (1) - a lack of exploitable weaknesses - and (2) - the ability to exploit others’ weaknesses - ahead of hoping for (3), at least for the majority of the pack. Which is likely to mean that, as with the original Moneyball, competent, unshowy players who do the stuff that wins matches will win out over outrageous talents who can’t adapt to cover their own weaknesses. Which will leave a lot of people on the sidelines sputtering over the non-inclusion of players whose highlights reels are spectacular, but whose lowlight reels have been uncovered by AI… at least until the point where every fan has access to a sporting analysis AI.

13 Go to comments
TRENDING
TRENDING England seek out overthrown head coach to spark attack England seek out forgotten head coach to spark attack
Search