Richard Wigglesworth missed out on the biggest club match of his career thanks to a flip of a coin, but former British and Irish Lion Harry Ellis insists his luck should change when England ’s World Cup squad is named.
The 28-year-old Wigglesworth enjoyed a dream debut season for Saracens, propelling them to their first Premiership title even though he sat out the opening exchanges of the Twickenham final as Lady Luck shone on Neil de Kock.
But despite this, Wigglesworth’s performance in the black and red did enough to catch the eye of Martin Johnson, earning him a call-up to the 45-man World Cup training squad.
Wigglesworth is now locked in a four-way battle to pull on the Red Rose No.9 in New Zealand, going up against Joe Simpson to act as Ben Youngs and Danny Care’s understudy.
Ex-Tiger Ellis knows a thing or two about what makes a good scrum-half, and while adamant that Wigglesworth is an England star for years to come, he has urged Johnson to see him as one right now.
“Richard is in the preliminary squad off the back of a great season for Saracens and he thoroughly deserves that spot,” said Ellis, who is an ambassador for the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby 7s Series 2011.
“He was instrumental in them winning the Premiership trophy and was a big part of a fantastic season for them.
“And he actually played really well in the Twickenham final which shows that he is a big game player which is crucial when you harbour England ambitions.
“He showed Martin Johnson that he is not just one for the future but he is one for right and he certainly cant’ be forgotten.
“He will be trying his hardest now to make sure he makes the final squad for New Zealand and nobody would begrudge him going along and I think he deserves it.”
Wigglesworth will be hoping his versatility will help him add to his five England caps this year, his last coming back in 2008, as he can play at fly-half and on the wing.
And despite making a late charge for stardom in a Red Rose jersey, Ellis believes that a trip to New Zealand will be invaluable whatever happens.
“Richard will be in the England reckoning for years to come but if he was to get the experience of going away for such a big event like the World Cup as it will only make him a better player for that experience,” he added.
“No matter what happens in terms of playing time, anyone who goes away with the squad for the biggest event on the rugby calendar is better for it.
“Richard had a great season but I would back him to improve even more if he was on the plane to New Zealand .”
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