Saturday, February 24, 2007

Who the Hell is David Strettle?

The second in what is becoming a series of posts on Harlequins players who have been catapulted into the England six nations team seemingly from nowhere.

As you may be aware David Strettle has been called up to replace the injured Jason Robinson in today's clash with Ireland, to the surprise of many in the rugby fraternity who would have expected the recall of the much more experienced Mark Cueto who appears to have recovered from the injuries that ruled him out of the first couple of games. Well I to was surprised, but thinking about it makes sense. Not just because Stretts is the form winger in England at the moment but also because he plays in a very similar way to Robinson so will help maintain the side's balance.

Like Robinson, Stretts is undersized for a modern winger at under 14st and uses his pace and ability to step off both feet to score rather than just running over people, and is deadly in one on ones and broken play. Although he is not as twinkled toed as the freakish Billy Whiz, he probably has a touch more gas, is stronger, and is better under the high ball.

Some commentators have voiced concerns that the 17st Shane Horgan will just run him over or he will not be able to cope with O'Garas tactical kicking. Well Saints obviously thought that last week, regularly kicking towards Stretts and sending "Big Ben" Cohen after him. On that particular battle its sufficient to say its Stretts who has had the call up this week not Cohen. And if the Irish kick loosely towards him, well as a couple of teams have found out this season they are likely to find themselves back under their own posts.

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