AFTER BEING called up into the England rugby union national team set-up for the first time on January 8, Kyle Eastmond could debut for their second string squad at the end of the month.
The 23-year-old Bath winger – who used to play rugby league for England and St Helens – switched codes in 2011 and looks set to feature for England’s second string side, the Saxons, against Ireland A on January 25.
England manager Stuart Lancaster indicated that the 5’, 6” Eastmond has the potential to cement his place in a number of positions for the Saxons.
Lancaster told the Express.co.uk: “We are going to look to see him at full-back for the Saxons – that’s where we think he has the best chance of playing for England.
“He has played at Bath on the wing and at No13 but in our set-up a second ball player who can play at 10 suits our system.”
Saracens back Joel Tomkins is another ex-rugby league player to be called up to the Saxons and their head coach Jon Callard believes that they will both make their mark in rugby union.
“There will be something made about league converts but is it any different to an athlete changing disciplines to win a gold medal?” said Callard.
“They have made the change at a young age and we should embrace that and utilise their skillsets. Joel is a strong man with the ability to step and offload and Kyle has fast feet and a good fend.
“It doesn’t matter about your height, it’s about your capabilities, as Jason Robinson showed with the power he employed to get into the air. There is something there with Kyle and this is the right environment to see it.”