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RUGBY: Kyle's on the fast track
2:10pm Friday 22nd February 2013 in Sport
KYLE Eastmond’s rugby union stock has never been higher following his switch from league, the Bath Rugby speedster having made his England Saxons debut last month.
But the 23-year-old has bad news for the rest of the Aviva Premiership – insisting he has no intention of slowing down any time soon.
In between helping Bath string six-straight wins together – the latest victory being a 40-16 demolition of London Irish at the Rec on Saturday – Eastmond has donned the Red Rose jersey for the first time since arriving in union from Super League side St Helens in 2011.
Eastmond came off the bench to help England Saxons get the better of the Irish Wolfhounds 14-10 before repeating the trick in a defeat to Scotland A on February 1.
His performances in a Bath shirt this season have led to calls for Eastmond to soon bridge the gap to the senior squad and even be a wildcard on this summer’s British & Irish Lions Tour to Australia.
Saracens’ Joel Tomkins is the latest dual-code star to make that jump, the centre being called up by Stuart Lancaster ahead of England’s Six nations clash with France this weekend, and while Eastmond admits harbours the same desire he is happy to bide his time – for now.
“Being called up for the England Saxons has been a great boost for my confidence,” Eastmond said.
“It has been a great experience to learn from other players and coaches and it will only help me continue to learn the union game.
“Things have been going well for me this season and I know I am heading in the right direction but I am getting there slowly, it is a long process and I still have a lot to learn.
“I do want to follow the likes of Joel in going from rugby league to the England senior team but to do that I have to keep playing well for Bath – that is the most important thing.
“I wouldn’t say that all the guys that come from rugby league are suited to union, but I think the skill set you get from an early age in league is a big help.
“But you have still go to start again, learn from the bottom and work your way up and that is what I am trying to do – keep an open mind, keep working hard for Bath and seeing what happens.”
Eastmond started this season on the wing for Bath but has found himself further infield in recent games with Gary Gold switching him to the centres.
And as he continues to find his feet in the Aviva Premiership Eastmond insists he doesn’t mind where he is put – as long as he is in Gold’s starting XV.
“I have played on the wing, inside centre and outside centre this season but I don’t mind where I am put,” he added.
“I am just happy to be playing and wherever I am put I will do my best and work my hardest and try and do what is best for the team.
“For me it is all about continuing to improve and getting a taste of a few positions will help me do that so I am happy to fill in wherever I am needed.”
Aviva are proud to be title sponsor of Aviva Premiership Rugby - one of the world's leading rugby union competitions. Each season will feature 135 games, which will be watched by 1.7 million people live at the grounds and many more through our broadcast partners Sky, ITV and ESPN - visit www.premiershiprugby.com
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