English Rugby
Strettle backs Tomkins for England
ESPN Staff
January 6, 2013
Saracens' Joel Tomkins ghosts through the Sale defence, Saracens v Sale Sharks, J.P. Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby Sevens Series Final, The Rec, Bath, England, August 3, 2012
Tomkins has started 11 of Saracens 12 Premiership matches this season © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: David Strettle | Joel Tomkins
Tournaments/Tours: Six Nations | Aviva Premiership
Teams: England | Saracens

Saracens and England wing David Strettle has thrown his weight behind his clubmate Joel Tomkins receiving an England call-up when Stuart Lancaster announces the revised England and England Saxons' squads on Wednesday.

The former Wigan rugby league star has been in good form for Saracens and has started 11 of their 12 Premiership matches this season. He has particularly stood out in defence where his physical approach to tackling has meant that Sarries have only conceded 10 tries this season.

"Joel's done exceptionally well so far," Strettle told The Rugby Paper. "Anyone who's played 13 in a back-line will tell you how hard it is to defend and for Joel to come in from rugby league, which is very different, and having to defend in union, well I think what he's done in phenomenal.

"It's not like he's just a defender either, because that's just the second part of his game. He's got such a big stride, can beat defenders and he's got great off-loading skills as well, so if he did make the England Saxons' squad no-one would question it."

Strettle himself is also hoping to be back in Lancaster's plans after he was forced to sit-out the end-of-year Test series while he underwent surgery on a hernia.

His last appearance for England came in the second Test during the summer tour to South Africa. In the third Test fullback Ben Foden switched to the wing, with Alex Goode handed the number 15 jersey and since then Charlie Sharples, Mike Brown, Chris Ashton and Ugo Monye played on the wing during the autumn Tests. Now that he is regaining his form though Strettle's aim is to add to his 12 caps.

"England knew I was struggling with my hernia and wanted me to get my operation done and then come back with all guns firing," he said. "They know what they get with me and it is a case now of taking care of the club stuff and be playing so well they can't say no. I'm feeling sharper now and my goal is to force my way back in."

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