Nick Isiekwe has Eddie Jones's backing to help him back into England fold
PUBLISHED: 06:13 22 September 2019
Saracens' Nick Isiekwe is confident he can reclaim his place in the England side - and has the advice and contact of Eddie Jones to guide him back.
The 22-year-old was not only chosen as part of the touring squad that travelled to South Africa in the summer of 2018 but was named as a starter in the first test in Johannesburg.
But after a stunning start for the visitors, South Africa produced an even-better comeback and Isiekwe was brought off in a tactical switch before the half had finished.
And with injury hampering him in the early part of last season, he has barely bothered the selectors since.
However, he says going through that has made him more determined than ever to pull on the jersey with the head coach's help he is determined to reclaim a place.
He said: "He is always telling me what I need to do and how I need to improve and that's reassuring for me as I know exactly what I need to do. It's simple for me.
"He calls me and says things. It's good.
"It was a great experience to go on an England tour and to start the first test was a dream come true and now I'm hungrier than ever to play for England again.
"I'm doing everything I can to put myself back in that position."
The whole tour could have undone all the hard work the former Nicholas Breakspear pupil has done so far in his career but showing a maturity that far exceeds his still-tender years, he insists he has come out of the other side much stronger.
He said: "You have to see everything as a learning curve and as an opportunity and for me it was a great insight into what it takes to play at that level.
"It almost instantly gives you a sense of maturity. There is so much that goes into it and you have to be vigilant in everything.
"But it was a great experience in South Africa, just to learn and play and be exposed to the highest level of rugby at such a young age was incredible.
"It gives you a fire in your belly because you feel like you can do it.
"I was blessed to be part of it."
And while there is a sense of disappointment not to be heading to Japan this month, he will be watching on as a fan with extremely high hopes.
"I hope we win and I think we've got a great squad and a great chance," he admitted. "I'm obviously disappointed to miss out but I'm so excited of those boys.
"A lot of my friends from Sarries are going and they get the chance to create history."