- Brookes must fight for Newcastle place
- Richards expects big things from England U20 star Scott Wilson
Photo: Getty Images
Newcastle Falcons Director of Rugby Dean Richards has urged tight-head prop Kieran Brookes to build on his experiences with England in New Zealand this summer by capturing a consistent starting berth at club level.
Brookes made an eye-catching Test debut off the bench during a 28-27 defeat in the second Test before another rumbustious cameo at Waikato Stadium a week later.
With news coming this week that Leicester Tigers stalwart Dan Cole is likely to miss the QBE Internationals in November, the 24 year-old can press his credentials for further England game time during the early part of the Aviva Premiership season.
Indeed, applauding his charge’s level-headed, industrious approach to pre-season, Richards suggested Brookes had set out his stall to kick on.
“Kieran has been the same old Kieran since returning from New Zealand,” he said. “He knows what is required from him and is getting his head down in order to achieve it.
“More than anything, the tour will have done his confidence the world of good. For him now, it’s about building on what happened out there and making sure that he’s as consistent as possible.
“If he does that and really knuckles down on his conditioning – perhaps finding an extra yard of pace – he’ll be in a position where England will continue to look at him.
“We’ve got a 3G pitch up in Newcastle from this season, so our expectations of them in the loose will probably increase from last year. He’s shown how effective he can be in short bursts, so now we want him to replicate that for 80 minutes.”
Photo: Getty Images
Coming into the tour Down Under behind both David Wilson and Henry Thomas in pecking order, with Harlequins youngster Kyle Sinckler also in form, Brookes did extremely well to force his way into two consecutive match-day squads.
However, Richards also made sure to outline his other tighthead options at Kingston Park, including 2013 Junior World Championship-winner Scott Wilson – a 20 year-old with a “huge future”.
Indeed, there were no guarantees that Brookes would begin the domestic campaign in the number three jersey.
“There are three quality tightheads at Newcastle. We have Kieran, Scott Wilson and Ollie Tomaszyk, who has been doing incredibly well.
“Scott is probably the most well-rounded, Ollie is the out-and-out scrummager and Kieran is the guy with a huge amount of power who can be destructive in the loose.
“We have another young guy called Mark Irving as well. He’ll add to the competition and I’m happy about that – without competition, it would be very easy for all of them to relax and you can’t afford to do that in this league. We want them all working hard all the time.”