Feb 09, 2017
Isiekwe can thrive in U20 6 Nations - Barrell
Nick Isiekwe can use the U20 Six Nations as a springboard for bigger and better things says his academy coach at Saracens, Don Barrell.
The promising lock-forward continues in the second row for England U20s when they face Wales in Colwyn Bay on Friday evening. The former Haileybury student made his Saracens debut in the club’s round one Anglo-Welsh Cup tie away to Gloucester in November 2016 and will line-up alongside fellow academy players Ben Earl and Dominic Morris in the round two Six Nations clash.
Isiekwe’s coach Don Barrell believes that the 19-year old can use his time in the England age-group set-up to hone his talents much like two other Saracens locks George Kruis and Maro Itoje, who both excelled making the step up from the A League to England U20 earlier in their careers.
“For a young man who has just come out of school Nick has already had some great experience,” said Barrell. “He’s started in the Anglo-Welsh Cup and had been a fixture in the A League for our Storm side. He’s had a steep learning curve in the understanding of the technicalities and speed of the senior game but there are some excellent role models around him, guys like George and Maro, who Nick can look up to. Both George and Maro know how important that eye for detail is at the set-piece and for a young lock forward like Nick it’s been great for him to learn from them.
“Peely (Forwards coach Ian Peel) has done a great job in including him in the lineout meetings we have the club. In these meetings, he’s been exposed to some of our greatest minds, whose knowledge, accuracy and detail at the lineout is the perfect environment for a young player like Nick. He’s been challenged to give his opinion, which will stand him in good stead as young player coming through the ranks. As with all players learning the game the importance of previewing, executing and reviewing what he does is vitally important.”
Barrell added: “The Six Nations provides Nick an opportunity to stamp his authority as a player and call the shots as a lineout leader. Whilst at the club, Nick has been led by the other more senior locks in the group, so this is his opportunity to understand the pressures of calling in a game which will help his development no-end. Having played in several Anglo-Welsh Cup matches he will now get the opportunity to compete against his own age group, this is a great chance to assert himself physically and continue to ensure his is a physical presence on the field.”