Connect with us

International Rugby

Matt Ferguson lauds star lock Alex Coles following his recall to the England squad

Northampton Saints forwards coach Matt Ferguson has heaped praise on Northampton Saints second-row Alex Coles following his England recall for the Six Nations.

Saints star Coles has previously donned the famous red rose for the first time in 2022, as he debuted against Argentina during the Autumn Nations Series.

He would go onto to add two more caps to his name during that Autumn, however he has found himself frozen out of the England squad since Steve Borthwick came to the helm.

But it looks like his time in international limbo is over, after a string of good performances have again propelled him into England’s 36-man squad for the upcoming Six Nations.

Speaking to the media ahead of his side’s clash against Newcastle Falcons, forwards coach Ferguson applauded the improvements he has made to his game to earn the recall.

“It’s certainly no surprise to us that Colesy (Alex Coles) is back into the England squad. He’s a really important cog in our machine,” he said.

He added: “The bits for me that I think we’ve seen from Colsey is just a step up around that physicality on both sides of the ball. In my opinion, he’s always been a great lineout operator, but we’ve just seen a little bit of maturity around his physicality in his carrying and also in his defensive stuff, and I’m delighted that that was recognised by Steve.”

Alex Coles-the master of the dark arts

Rugby Union – 2023 / 2024 Gallagher Premiership – Round One – Sale vs Northampton – A J Bell Stadium – Sunday 15th October 2023 Alex Coles of Northampton Saints wins possession from the line out, at the A J Bell Stadium. PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK

It is no surprise that a 6’8 lock is an impeccable lineout operator, but Alex Coles is arguablly one of the best in the Premiership in this area, and Ferguson detailed just how knowledgeable he is with regard to the lineout.

“The boys call him the educator because he’s a very bright man, and he leads our line out impeccably.”

“Him and James Craig speak in some sort of weird language most of the week that it takes a scientist to work out.”

It isn’t just in the lineout where Coles excels. He is one of the players who really puts in a big shift every week. He is working on his physicality on both sides of the ball, but he has kept up his exceptional work rate around the park, which earned him high praise from his forwards coach.

“His numbers and his work rate that he gets through, he’s pulling out back-row numbers from in the second-row, and that’s invaluable to the way that we want to play.”