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The bold Sale prediction after England’s limited use of Bevan Rodd

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Sale have ambitiously backed Bevan Rodd to benefit in the long term from his limited role with England at the recent Rugby World Cup, tipping him to ultimately become the No1 Test level pick ahead of Ellis Genge.

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The 23-year-old loosehead featured in just two of his country’s seven matches at the tournament in France and of the 34 players used by Steve Borthwick, only Max Malins, Jack Walker, Sam Underhill and the injured Jack Willis had fewer minutes than the 84 that the Sharks prop played.

In contrast, Borthwick gave rival looseheads Genge 268 minutes and Joe Marler 208, restricting Rodd to 54 minutes as a try-scoring starter in the September 23 Pool D rout of Chile in Lille and then a 30-minute run off the bench Paris in the bronze medal match versus Argentina 34 days later.

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He has since returned to Manchester to start in Sale’s November Gallagher Premiership wins over Gloucester and Bristol, and he will again pack down as Alex Sanderson’s No1 when they host Newcastle on Friday night at the AJ Bell.

Asked by RugbyPass about what he has said to Rodd since he came home from his truncated World Cup, Sanderson said: “I guess a lot of similar messages to what we were saying to him before the World Cup.

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“They didn’t have a consequence on the selection for us and it did in the World Cup, so he has to be a smarter, more dominant scrummager on the loosehead and not just go for every scrum and every occasion and paint bad pictures which ultimately leads to penalties conceded.

“He has grown in maturity there and understanding of his role and the growth he needs to make on the left-hand side of the scrum.”

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Despite Rodd’s lack of England exposure at the finals, Sanderson is adamant that the forward has the ability to challenge Genge for the No1 shirt, adding that he has been more vocal on the Sale training pitch in recent weeks compared to the player who left the club after last May’s Premiership final defeat to prepare for the World Cup.

“He is a bit more purposeful on the training field, he is a bit more demanding and challenging of players whereas before he just led by example. He is now verbalising some of the things that he is trying to get out of himself.

“He is a very fun-loving, amenable person, gregarious, infectiously energetic in and around the place, but we talked about the shift he needs to make on the field to actually inspire people through his actions and through his standards and I believe he has taken that on. There is more of a sharpness to him on the training field which is good to see.

“He has a big impact on the game in attack, around the contact area, defensively in the breakdown he is smart and he is very ball-focused because he is a good jackal threat and flexible in his hips and he is starting to bang players, so his tackle selection is better.

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“I had a conversation with him on Monday on this so I have no problem saying it to you – we have in no way seen the best of Bevan Rodd from what we see on the training field.

“He has been good but he has the ability to be the best loosehead – and that includes Genge – in the Premiership, so I’m pushing him to be better.”

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Comments

5 Comments
C
Clive 217 days ago

I would take Rodd over Gunge now and just about anybody over Sinkhole.

N
Nigel 217 days ago

Good player. Hope Borthwick has him in his long term plans.

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