Rugby Club: Matt Kvesic needs the chance to grow into the No.7 role for England

Last Updated: 08/11/13 9:33am

Matt Kvesic may not have impressed Stuart Lancaster with his form this season but Pat Sanderson insists that he is a special talent who could give England back their balance in the back row.

Kvesic was superb for England in Argentina in the summer but his form for Gloucester this season has not been good enough for him to challenge Chris Robshaw, who was rested for that tour, for the No.7 jersey.

Lancaster has stuck with Robshaw as his skipper for the QBE Internationals against Australia, Argentina and New Zealand in November, and while Sanderson believes he has been in good form for Harlequins, he does not believe he is the future for England.

"Every now and again you have to make a brave call on a special talent and for me Kvesic is special. He may not be playing well enough but he is the future and he is not going to progress until he gets exposure at this level."

Pat Sanderson

"It's safe and anyone who says it is not the right decision is probably going to get shot down because he has been good for Quins," said Sanderson on the Rugby Club.

"I think it is a loyalty reward for helping Lancaster turn the culture of the England squad around. Is he going to be the man in the back row come the Six Nations, come the 2015 World Cup?

"I suspect not. As I said it would be very harsh not to have him in this England back row given his form for Quins this season, but he is not the future, Matt Kvesic is the future.

"Kvesic is a special athlete; he is an out and out specialist No.7 who carries well. You look who is also in the back row - Tom Wood at No.6 and Billy Vunipola at No.8 - that would be balanced beautifully by Kvesic. Robshaw is a generalist and as a result you don't get that same distribution of skill across the back row.

"I would shoe horn him in. Every now and again you have to make a brave call on a special talent and for me Kvesic is special. He may not be playing well enough but he is the future and he is not going to progress until he gets exposure at this level.

Sanderson also says that there is a lot of pressure and expectation on England this November and Lancaster has to get the balance between getting the right results and building for the 2015 World Cup just right.

"Lancaster may see it less about the risk in finding new players and more about continuing from where they left off last autumn," added Sanderson who won 16 caps for England.

"There is a bit of pressure on him now after the progress they made last year."

Yarde's potential

One of those players who Lancaster took a risk on is Marlon Yarde, and Will Greenwood says that he has the potential to be a very special player for England.

"There is a lot of potential there - he is raw but he is the first name on the team sheet for the back three," said Greenwood on the Rugby Club.

"Whilst we are debating the Foden/Brown/Goode combination at fullback and the Ashton/Wade combination on the other wing; Marlon Yarde is straight in.

"I had question marks about him last year and I still think you can isolate him defensively and he has to learn about that on the international field.

"But attacking wise he has big pace, a big step and he is always looking for work. He also has this extraordinary talent now that every time he moves up and you start to question whether he will continue to break those tackles - he still does! I have been hugely impressed but he has to learn and adapt very quickly against proper sides."

Shane Horgan agrees: "Going forward is not a problem for him and I think he will continue to break those tackles, physically he is well developed and he is a nice balanced runner as well - almost a Sitiveni Sivivatu in the way that he runs.

"He stays on his feet and does not accept a tackle. As a result he is often over the gain line and can get his hands free to get the pass away. But tactically he still has some way to go - he is only young and that is completely normal.

"I would like to see him play all the games this autumn. Australia are going to pose an issue for him because of the way they have developed their game - they are very good at doing the work behind the scenes and will look to isolate him."

While Kvesic will not get his chance this November, Sanderson is delighted that Marlon Yarde will be exposed to the game at the highest level.

"Yes there is a question mark over him but that question mark is there because he has not played enough rugby at this level. At club level he is fine; he does not get tested or isolated. He is really going to get tested by Australia and the All Blacks and by the end of November we will know a lot more about Marlon Yarde."