Wednesday, 2 March 2011
Kyle Eastmond: Will He Be a Hit at Bath?
1) Be young
Granted Jason Robinson was 26 when he converted but on the whole the younger the better. I think this is simply because younger players are more likely to be patient if things don't go immediately to plan. I can't help but feel that players like Andy Farrell and Henry Paul had more than enough talent to be real union superstars had they moved earlier in their careers.
Eastmond, at 21, certainly has age on his side.
2) Be in the Right Environment
Put simply winning teams are easier to slot into. They don't rush players into their starting XV and they don't expect immediate results. Its pretty clear for all to see that Iestyn Harris did not benefit from being shoved into a struggling Welsh side after 200 minutes of Rugby Union. Chris Ashton benefited massively from his first season in Union being in Northampton's undefeated campaign in National League One.
I expect Bath to be patient with Eastmond, after all they were extremely careful in their handling of Shontayne Hape. Also, the fact that England are looking strong should mean that, unlike others, there will be no rush to get him into the England setup.
3) Be a 12 or higher
I know, I know, Brad Thorn etc etc. But there is no point comparing the Southern Hemisphere players. The gap from League to Union is smaller in the SH and the skill level is higher so I don't think there is much to take from their experience. In Europe forwards and half backs don't do well. Stephen Myler is alright I suppose, but still about 6th in line for the England Fly Half berth. The bottom line is that wingers, centres and full backs have less to adapt to.
This is where I worry for Eastmond, Bath have already stated that they see him as an outside back, but he is a natural half back by trade. If you check out his highlights reel (see below) he seems suited to working in the tight. He is great at ducking under tackles and skipping round forwards, I'm not entirely sure this will translate to the wing or centres.