Moody: Quins' Wallace is ready for Test call
7:00am Friday 30th May 2014 in Sport
World Cup winner Lewis Moody believes Harlequins Luke Wallace has what it takes to pack down in the England back row this summer.
Wallace has enjoyed a stellar season on the blindside at the Stoop and has deputised for Robshaw at number seven during the skipper’s international commitments.
England head coach Stuart Lancaster is short of options for the opening Test match against New Zealand on June 7, with regular blindside Tom Wood involved in Saturday’s Premiership final at Twickenham.
Wallace starts for England against the Barbarians on Sunday and could force his way into the reckoning for a place on the plane heading to take on the All Blacks.
And Moody would not be surprised if he made the grade.
“I was surprised he wasn’t drafted into the EPS squad as other guys weren’t performing quite as well. He’s been steady across the board,” said Moody.
“I played a lot of club rugby at six and my international rugby at seven, so there is no reason he can’t do a job in either position.
“It would certainly be a big ask for him going into his first Test match. It is not a massive difference between six or seven– at six you tend to do a lot more ball carrying and at seven you tend to be in the rucks, winning ball back and making tackles.
“I think Luke deals with both perfectly well. He is a quality rugby player, he is attacking, he is abrasive, he has great ball skills and if given the opportunity it will do him the world of good.”
Six Quins – including hookers Joe Gray and Dave Ward – are heading to the southern hemisphere to face the All Blacks, while Wallace, Charlie Matthews, Rob Buchanan, Will Collier and Kyle Sinckler are in the running to take on the Baa-Baas.
England head coach Stuart Lancaster will finalise his touring party following the weekend’s action.
And should Wallace make the trip, Moody insised that would only be a good thing for skipper Robshaw and his country.
“We need these guys coming through and testing the likes of Chris as competition drives performance,” he added.
“If the guys in that starting line-up are getting too lethargic or complacent because they aren’t being pushed then it drops the performance.
“One of the things I always found in my playing days, was that the more people you had coming through and pushing you it was making you perform better and better each week.
“There are certainly some questions to answer there for Stuart, but I am fairly sure he knows where he will go.
“Chris is still really learning his international trade so to play against Richie [McCaw], one of the best opensides in the world, is always a good test to see where you are.”
* Lewis Moody is a Land Rover ambassador. Land Rover supports grassroots rugby and provides the opportunity for 7,000 youngsters to take part in the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup.