- Centre explains appetite for more after excellent start in South America
- “I’m hoping to learn off whoever I can. Every bit of information is important” – Eastmond
An electric introduction to Test rugby this summer and subsequent selection in the senior EPS has not altered Kyle Eastmond’s aims at all – the sparky centre remains set on improving every facet of his game.
The 24-year-old marked his first two caps against Argentina in June with some very accomplished touches, signing off perfectly during the 51-26 win in Buenos Aires with a fantastic try and a subtle assist for Marland Yarde.
But while Eastmond acknowledged that his promotion was a nice reward for those showings in South America, he also insisted he was far from the finished article.
Photo: Getty Images
“It’s nice to be back with a few of the lads that were on tour and a few other lads who I’ve never met before,” said the league convert on Monday – the first full day of England’s mini-camp at Loughborough University.
“Obviously it’s always nice to get feedback and it’s a bonus when it is positive. But there’s also stuff that I can improve on. Hopefully camps like this can help me out that little bit further and keep enhancing my development.
“The tour to Argentina was a good learning process for me and I took a lot from it, so to get back into the England set-up quickly is great. That way I can keep that process going under the coaches and some different players as well.
“I’m hoping to learn off whoever I can. Every bit of information I can get is important.”
On announcing the EPS groups at the start of this month, Stuart Lancaster explained that Eastmond was worth his place on sheer attacking ability.
Photo: Getty Images
Possessing the priceless ability to beat defenders as well as smooth distribution – which he showcased consistently over a first full Aviva Premiership season for Bath Rugby – the Oldham-born code-hopper certainly stands out in that regard. However, a rounded skill base is his goal.
“[Attack] has been an area that has been natural in my game since I was a young lad,” Eastmond explained. “The positions I played in league helped me do that – if those are things there that I can bring to this set-up, great.
“I want to improve my overall game, though. This is a new sport that I have been playing for one season and I’m not going to rest at all – I want to be a good all-round player in rugby union.
“There’s not one single aspect of the game that I’m looking at, there are quite a few that I want to become better in and I’m going to work as hard as I can.”
Recognition at the highest level has come rapidly for Eastmond, who only finalised a move to the West Country from Super League outfit St Helens in October 2011.
With British and Irish Lions tourists Billy Twelvetrees, Brad Barritt and Manu Tuilagi for company in the senior squad, such progress will surely continue.
Photo Getty Images
However, Eastmond was reluctant to shift his attention away from The Rec, where he is likely to form a blockbuster midfield partnership with new signing Jonathan Joseph.
“[England] wasn’t something that I even thought of, to be honest,” he admitted. “I came with a clean slate and had to start again from the bottom, earning the respect of my teammates at club level with Bath. That’s still the same now.
“It’s been nice to be back among my club teammates [in pre-season] and the new guys have settled in nicely – there are enough London Irish guys for JJ to hang around with, so he has been fine.
“The summer did whet my appetite [for more Tests] but the most important thing is playing for my club. Things might happen if I do that, but I have just got to be focused on Bath and doing well for them.”