Worcester boss defends Ollie Lawrence after Eddie Jones criticism
In his new book Leadership, Jones makes it clear he was not impressed with 22-year-old Lawrence in training with the national squad. He said: “He’s [Lawrence] still a kid, only 21, but the way that some of the media raves about him you would think he’s already assured of becoming one of the best players in the world. He might do that, one day, but his attitude was not hungry or disciplined enough.”
Lawrence, who won the last of his seven England caps against the USA in July, is set to return from injury for Worcester at home to Wasps on Saturday along with fellow internationals Duhan van der Merwe and Rory Sutherland and Thomas was keen to put the record straight.
The Worcester director of rugby said: “All I can do is comment on the Ollie Lawrence I know in this environment and since I have been here he has been part of the England squad. I have seen someone who is passionate about playing for Worcester and has even played through injury and against Sale he had grade two tear in his calf and was knocking on my door saying he wants to play for the team.
“Ollie is a young man and life is all about growing from your experiences and I think going into England camps has been really good for him because it takes you to another level. Ollie comes back and leads by example and everything that doesn’t require talent like kick-chase has gone to another level because of that experience. I have also seen him mature as a person to the extent that we have put him in our leadership group because he wants to add value on and off the field.
“I see a young man who has got talent and all young men are not the finished article but we are glad to have him here.”
Thomas was joined in a 7am coach’s meeting by former Sale boss Steve Diamond who started this week as Worcester’s lead rugby consultant. Thomas, who saw his side grab a draw in the snow at Newcastle at the weekend, said: “Dimes can add real value and we are in a really good place.”
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