- Openside determined to “stake claim” in debut Test
- Kvesic believes breakdown is key against Argentina
Openside Matt Kvesic is certain he can set aside the emotion of first full international and has honed in on the immediate task in hand – a ferocious breakdown battle against the Argentinean forwards in Salta on Saturday.
After being selected to start his maiden Test by Head Coach Stuart Lancaster, the Gloucester-bound 21 year-old hinted that the scale of the honour had initially felt slightly overwhelming.
However, with a prolific domestic season of pilfering ruck ball for Worcester Warriors behind him, Kvesic is now determined to showcase his ability and contribute on the biggest stage.
“This is a massive opportunity to stake my claim and put my foot in the door,” he said. “As any big game creeps closer, the nerves kick in and you get a bit emotional.
"Then you'll get over the whitewash and you’re ready to play. I’m just really excited to be involved.”
“I’ll just do exactly what I’ve done all year for Worcester. The breakdown is key, as is securing fast ball. [The coaches] have not really nailed down anything they want me to do, just told me to go out there and play, enjoy yourself and just do what you do best. If I can provide some quick ball and turn some ball over I’ll be pretty pleased.”
Although Kvesic has had to prove his versatility for Worcester by playing in all three positions across the back row, he knows exactly where his talents are best deployed.
Photo: Getty Images
“If anyone asks me what position I play I say openside flanker; that’s where I want to play,” he added. “Having that ability to move – I played a bit at 8 at Worcester – is important and covering other positions is a good development as much as anything else. But definitely nailing down that seven spot is where I’m looking in the future.”
And looking ahead to Saturday's series-opener specifically, Kvesic believes he has an integral role to play on the floor – stopping Argentina's well-worn practice of disrupting front-foot possession.
“They’re big, physical chaps, and the breakdown is something they really pride themselves on – slowing the ball down for the opposition and making it hard to play.
“My job is to win that first breakdown and secure some quick ball and then we can play from there, givinge likes of Christian [Wade] and [David] Strettle some space on the wing to do their stuff. One-on-one I’d back them every time.”
Kvesic exploded out of the blocks at the start of England's 40-12 win over the Barbarians last month, stripping the ball from the very first tackle he made just seconds after kick-off.
That exceptional intervention led to an opening-minute try for Freddie Burns and Lancaster's latest debutante was keen for a repeat.
“It was good to get some early action [against the Barbarians],” Kvesic finished. “That settled me down a bit and got me into the game. If I can do the same on the weekend that’ll be great.”