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Saracens fan Louise Warr argues David Strettle has improved his game and is worthy of England consideration
Only one more home game stands between Sarries and gracing the artificial turf at new home Allianz Park.
It is a pitch that will come under huge scrutiny, there is no doubting that.
Saracens however, have been very forthcoming in voicing the benefits that the pitch will bring, the main one being how it will enable the game to be played at a much faster pace all year round.
One player that Premiership defences will not want to gain pace from the new surface is David Strettle.
Strettle has always been a player of significant talent, winning the PRA’s Young Player of the season in 2007, as well as being named in the Sky Sports Dream Team in the same year.
However, on his arrival at Saracens in 2010, he was starting to become better known for a player with a substantial injury record, and defensive frailties.
Fast forward to 2013, and that description is becoming increasingly further from the truth.
Strettle has now made 67 appearances for the Men in Black and in recent weeks has shown the kind of form that could lead to his total of 12 England caps being added to.
The former Harlequins and Rotherham winger was rightly awarded Man of the Match in the weekend’s game against Sale Sharks, this however, doesn’t tell you the full extent to the impact he made throughout the 80 minutes.
We all know about the attacking talent he possesses but what was most impressive was the work carried out in defence.
There are not many in the league that provide a better kick chase.
Yes, it doesn’t make for the most attractive of rugby, but when used in the right way can be hugely effective.
Not only does Strettle now chase the kick and applying pressure on the opposition, he now has started putting in significant hard tackles while doing so.
Now don’t get me wrong, he will never tackle in the same league as well known hard hitters Jacques Burger or Mouritz Botha, but that isn’t his job, nor is he built to carry out such crunching hits.
As well as a defensive display that quite possibly could have won him the Man of the Match award by itself, the winger was a menace in attack, playing a substantial role in both tries scored.
Firstly, crossing the white wash himself, coasting through a massive gap in the Sale defence.
It did not take long for Strettle to strike again, but for the second try roles were reversed, with Strettle showing off some fine footballing skills to put Charlie Hodgson under the posts.
His critics will use the deficit in tries scored this season compared to some of his rivals for the England wing spots, as an argument for others to be given a chance ahead of him in the soon to be announced revised EPS squad.
It is a valid argument to make, it is not however a problem exclusive to the man himself but the Saracens team as a whole, and one that should not solely determine his future wearing the red rose.
What he has shown in recent times, however, is that when opportunities come his way to score, he more often than not does so.
This paired with the fact that his all round game has improved and the form he finds himself in should place him into Stuart Lancaster’s thoughts ahead of the Six Nations.
Not only showing that form is temporary and class in permanent but that his well-publicised weaknesses, both in fitness and form, are a thing of the past.