Steve Borthwick urges Immanuel Feyi-Waboso to follow James Lowe’s lead to make most of first England start

Feyi-Waboso has been encouraged to go searching for work on his first Test start

Harry Latham-Coyle
Thursday 07 March 2024 22:32 GMT
Immanuel Feyi-Waboso will make his first start against Ireland
Immanuel Feyi-Waboso will make his first start against Ireland (PA Wire)

Steve Borthwick has urged Immanuel Feyi-Waboso to take inspiration from Irish counterpart James Lowe and get his hands on the ball to make a success of his first England start at Twickenham on Saturday.

Young wing Feyi-Waboso has been promoted to the starting side after a try-scoring cameo off the bench against Scotland in round three.

The 21-year-old has been a breakthrough star of the Premiership season, impressing for Exeter both with his ability to slip through contact and lead the hard outside blitz England are now favouring defensively.

His score at Murrayfield came roaming off his right wing, arriving at the line on the scrum half’s shoulder as he searched for work to create a try-scoring chance.

Borthwick would like to see more of that from Feyi-Waboso on his first start for his country, citing Ireland’s Lowe — one of the world’s best wings — as an example to follow.

“When I watch Manny what I see is his ability to come off the wing and pop up off 9 as he did in the Scotland game, to pop up inside and outside 10,” Borthwick explained of his new back’s abilities.

“I have seen him several times pop up in the middle and do a pick and go at the ruck because he wants the ball in his hands and we saw that in the Scotland game.

Ireland’s James Lowe has become one of the world’s best wingers (Getty Images)

“I remember years ago when James Lowe was playing for the Chiefs back in New Zealand and there was a game where he carried the ball over 20 times, he was off his wing going to find the ball and it was a model for wingers finding ball.

“After I told he was starting, he was very grateful and thanked me numerous times then asked me ‘what do you want from me’. I said ‘find the ball, get the ball in your handss’. There are some nuances but the message was I want you to get the ball in your hands as many times as possible.”

Feyi-Waboso will face a significant challenge on debut with Ireland red hot favourites even coming to Twickenham.

Andy Farrell’s side are seeking to become the first men’s team to secure back-to-back grand slams in the Six Nations era, with an encounter with Scotland at the Aviva Stadium to come in the final round of fixtures.

Borthwick felt that his side felt “the weight of the shirt on their shoulders” in an error-prone performance in the Calcutta Cup a fortnight ago, but believes his team will be ready to meet the challenge of what he believes is the “best team in the world”.

Feyi-Waboso was a bright spot in another tough Calcutta Cup clash for England (Getty Images)

“As a player and in teams I’ve been part of, I saw a lot of players feel the weight of that shirt and feel the scrutiny the team was under,” Borthwick explained. “The environment we want to create is supportive of the players and we understand that mistakes are going to happen.

“What I’m after is a response to that. What do we learn from it? How quickly do we move forward from it. If you look at the game this weekend, what a game for the shirt to lift you up. What a game for Twickenham to add fuel to the team. What a game to add every ounce of energy and fight that’s within the players together, when you are going to be tested against the best team in the world.”

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