The 'ridiculous' Freddie Steward 'flashiness' Jones wants to curb
Eddie Jones led the chorus of praise for man of the match Freddie Steward after Saturday’s comprehensive England win over Japan, but he couldn’t resist giving the youngster a playful verbal dig over the way he currently looks. The soon-to-be 22-year-old lit up Twickenham with an all-action contribution, scoring one try, creating another, and also showcasing his admirable ability in the air.
There was just one thing the England head coach couldn’t give Steward kudos for – the mustache that he is attempting to grow in a month that has become traditionally become known as Movember.
It was only July 2021 when Steward was first capped at Test level but he has been an ever-present selection since then as Jones immediately warmed to the Leicester-nurtured talent that is now drawing envious glances from around the world.
“You consider that is his 15th Test, him and Marcus (Smith) have come through and they have only 15 Tests in their career. Both of them keep growing and Freddie particularly got a lot of free ball which enabled him to run a bit more than he usually does, but his kick-catch game was fantastic.”
Jones is notorious for quickly discarding rookie players after they have an initial look-in with England. For instance, numerous players who debuted with Steward during that two-game summer series last year against the USA and Canada haven’t kicked on… unlike the title-winning Tigers full-back who will now expect to keep his admirable Test selection run going against the All Blacks next Saturday.
“Some players come through, Owen (Farrell) was one, and they are experienced right from the start and other players tend to take longer to mature and you never really know how long it is going to take. He has got a good head on him, doesn’t get too ahead of himself. The only flashiness we have seen with him is he has got this ridiculous mustache at the moment – so we are going to have to get rid of that for him.”
England skipper Farrell, who was presented with a samurai sword by the Japanese following the Autumn Nations Series win, followed up the Jones appreciation of Steward with his own plaudits for the youngster.
“I can only speak of Freddie himself and how good he is around the place, how good he is in training, how much he wants to get better, how honest and hard-working he is as a young lad and he has obviously got some special talent with a lot of his stuff. Because of his aerial stuff, a lot of the (other) stuff probably goes unnoticed as well. You see him breaking tackles and setting up tries and that is a big part of his game as well.”
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Hate hyping young players, but if there is a year to stand out, its this year with teh RWC, a new coach who doesn't always follow the rules, and his competition not bashing the door down. That said, Noah seems to be playing a much more expansive game this year. Nick, it would be great if you could do a comparison of 2021-22 Noah v's the 2023 one.Go to comments
Excellent read like always Nicholas. Yes the fly half needs to handle the ball quite often, not just make up the numbers in the back line and take the odd kick. I fully agree that Larkham's return to the Brumbies might be perfect timing for Noah.Go to comments