By Neale Harvey
Alex Lozowski has revealed why he has been piling on the pounds in a bid to secure England’s No.13 jersey for the November internationals.
Ostensibly a fly-half-cum-inside-centre when he joined Saracens from Wasps two years ago, Lozowski was switched to outside-centre late last season and starred as the Men in Black swept to their fourth Premiership title in scintillating fashion.
However, despite earning a place on England’s summer tour to South Africa, Lozowski was overlooked by Red Rose boss Eddie Jones in favour of Exeter’s Henry Slade – an omission that served to fuel the 25-year-old’s fire ahead of this season.
Lozowski told The Rugby Paper: “You go on tour looking to be able to contribute, make a difference and help the team.
“In South Africa it didn’t happen for me and it’s always disappointing not to play, but that’s sport and my job on the tour was to help prepare the team the best way I could to try and win Test matches, which I did to the best of my ability.
“I’ve come back to the club now looking to work on areas that may have held me back. Hopefully, I can show that I’ve been working on those things in the Premiership and we’ll see where that takes me ahead of the November internationals.
Lozowski explained: “Eddie’s looking for smart rugby players and decision-makers, so it’s about making good decisions, playing what’s in front of me and playing where the space is.
“I’ve also put on a couple of kilos and am getting a lot stronger. I’m at 94kgs (14st 8lbs) now and I’ll try to keep that up throughout the season and use it to my advantage.”
Lozowski faces huge competition for England’s No.13 jersey with Slade, Elliot Daly, Jonathan Joseph and Manu Tuilagi among those vying for the position.
He says: “It’s not something I envisaged when I signed for Saracens but I’m very happy to be playing there and I feel I can make a difference.
“The game’s very fluid now. Even though you’ve got a number on your back, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re just restricted to that one position.
“At Saracens we’ve got players who can swap in and out of positions and that works in our favour. Sometimes you’ll have Owen Farrell on one side of the ruck and I’ll be on the other, while Alex Goode can join the line as a playmaker. It’s a good situation to be in and we’re trying to raise the bar. Having won the title last season, everyone put in a huge amount of work over the off-season and it’s not just about sitting back and waiting for people to catch you up.”
Saracens look a good bet to retain their title, with Lozowski adding: “We want to set new standards and we’ve seen glimpses of it, but I still feel there’s much more to come.
“Speaking to our forwards, they feel like they can make sure the set-piece is functioning 100 per cent in terms of quality ball, and from an attacking point of view we must keep focussing on our breakdown to ensure it’s where it needs to be.”
As for that competition for England midfield spots, Lozowski adds: “That competition drives us all on and my aim is to ensure Eddie’s next selection is a difficult one.”