Kyle Eastmond has proved me wrong says Martin Offiah

Kyle EastmondCross-code legend Martin Offiah admits Kyle Eastmond has already proved him wrong after his switch to Rugby Union, claiming his former protégé could yet prove to be England’s 2015 World Cup super sub.
Offiah told Eastmond he was too young to make the switch when he moved to Bath from St Helens in 2011, but 23-year-old Eastmond has enjoyed a stellar season at the Rec and is set to win his first England cap in Argentina.
With his League background, low centre of gravity and a blistering turn of pace, Eastmond inevitably draws comparisons with 2003 World Cup winner Jason Robinson.
And Eastmond took his try against the Baa-Baas last week with a swashbuckling sidestep, in a manner reminiscent of Billy Whizz, demonstrating how lethal he can be on the international stage, where space is at a premium.
He’s spent large parts of his Bath career at centre and on the wing but Stuart Lancaster sees him as a full-back – where Robinson played large parts of his international career – and that’s where Eastmond appeared from the bench at Twickenham.
Along with flyers Jonny May, Christian Wade and Marland Yarde he will look to stake a claim for an England starting berth in South America, and Offiah, who served as Eastmond’s agent until he crossed codes, believes he could be among the Red Rose’s most dangerous weapons when used in bursts.
“I felt he was a bit young to go across but he’s a man who makes his own decisions and I’m happy it’s working out for him,” said former Wigan and Wasps flyer Offiah.
“We parted company at that time (crossing codes), he was seeking a new challenge and working in new areas, I’m just happy I was able to help him in the short time I was with him. At the end of the day people can advise you, but it’s your career. Wrongly or rightly players have to make their own decisions.
“Kyle has had a few seasons in Union now, he’s played a number of positions and now he’ll just focus on the job that his coaching staff require of him.
“He’s an instinctive, creative player and an experience player in the half-back role in Rugby League. He’s played centre and wing and a number of positions for Bath.
“He could be a player likened to Jason Robinson and definitely come off the bench and be an impact player, maybe in the Autumn Internationals if things go well for him in Argentina.”
While England’s nine Lions are absent from the Argentina tour and a few senior faces – notably Chris Robshaw and Chris Ashton – are rested, the competition for the No.15 jersey is fierce.
Mike Brown was restored to his preferred position against the Baa-Baas and 24 hours before that Ben Foden looked almost back to his best for Northampton in the Premiership final, while Alex Goode misses the tour only through injury.
Offiah, however, believes the clashes with the Pumas represent Eastmond’s best chance to establish himself in the England squad.
“A good performance in Argentina and we could possibly see him in the autumn internationals,” he added.
“It’s like an X-Factor audition, you perform or you go home it’s as simple as that.
“England have a lot of exciting backs and this is a chance for them, with the Lions away, to showcase them.”
PETE THOMPSON

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