Matt Kvesic will be in South Africa with England this summer, and he might just be a long-term occupant of the number 7 jersey in years to come.
Kvesic has been a regular member of the England U20 setup over the last two years and will be part of the squad competing in the IRB Junior World Championships in Cape Town in June, but it surely won’t be long until he’s called up for full international honours. Moreover, he’s the latest addition to The Rugby Blog’s team and will be writing a regular blog to keep us posted on his progress.
The 20-year-old openside flanker has been a standout player for Worcester Warriors this season, and was named recently on the shortlist for Land Rover’s Discovery of the Season award – the list of previous winners includes Manu Tuilagi, Ben Youngs and Tom Rees, suggesting that the award is an accurate indicator of future potential.
“I’m pleased with how this season has gone.” Kvesic said. “We’ve had some disappointing results, but staying up was the main objective having just come up from the Championship and it has been good to establish ourselves in the Premiership. We’ve had time to build the squad now and next year we’ll be pushing for the Heineken Cup places.”
“Last year was massive for me playing in the Championship and it was a great introduction to senior rugby. I managed to get a foothold in the team and I’ve carried that on this year.”
Kvesic has been talked about as a future England star for some time, and as a specialist 7, some people see him as a long-term occupant of the openside jersey, but he’s typically modest on the subject.
“I’m a realistic bloke and I know I have a lot of work to do. It’s a long term goal to play for England and maybe I’ll get a chance in the next couple of years, but I’ve just got to take it step by step.”
“Stuart Lancaster came to the Junior World Championships last year and it was good to get to know him, but I’ve not been in contact since he became head coach.”
Kvesic knows that if he concentrates on playing as well as he can for Worcester and the U20s, the opportunity may come.
“This is my last year in the U20s and I’m really looking forward to being involved and can’t wait to go out (to South Africa for the Junior World Championships). We’re a really tight-knit group and I think that’s part of the reason we’ve performed so well.”
Indeed, Kvesic played in last year’s final, in which England lost narrowly to New Zealand, and they’ll be hoping to go one better this time around.
“There’ll be some new faces and there is some serious talent in there, so I’m looking forward to the training camp in mid-May before we head out in June.”
Matt Kvesic will be writing a regular column for The Rugby Blog, and we’ll follow his career as it continues to rise.