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Richard Wigglesworth lauds Tom Pearson following strong England A display

England assistant coach Richard Wigglesworth has lauded the performance of Northampton Saints forward Tom Pearson in the England A victory over Portugal.

England assistant coach Richard Wigglesworth has lauded the performance of Northampton Saints forward Tom Pearson in the England A victory over Portugal.

Pearson had been in the initial England Six Nations squad, but was moved across to the England A squad to get some much needed game time, where he impressed.

The Northampton flanker, who has one senior cap to his name, scored one of England A’s 15 tries on the day and was overall very impressive in all aspects of his game; which has earned high praise from Wigglesworth.

Speaking to the media today, the England assistant coach said: “You win a game like that it’s hard to pick apart performances, but Tom was really good. He really stood out, as he’s doing for Northampton.”

He added: “The coaches have asked him to do a couple  of things and he’s definitely showed that.”

Pearson wasn’t the only player who impressed the England coach, with Will Muir also receiving plaudits for his try-scoring performance against Portugal.

“Really enjoyed having Will (Muir) in training, his desire to improve is right up there, so it was nice nice to see him go and prove that.”

Wigglesworth on Pearson’s test future

England A v Portugal, Leicester, UK – 25th Feb 2024 England A player Tom Pearson Northampton Saints during the International rugby match between England A and Portugal at Mattioli Woods Welford Road on February 25th- Leicester England Copyright: xStevexBond/Pinnaclex PPA-092412

Tom Pearson has quickly become one of the Premiership’s best back-rowers. He initially impressed at London Irish last season, and has only improved following his switch to Northampton Saints this summer.

The bulk of his career has been spent in the number seven jersey, but he was deployed on the blindside for England A, where he looked just as comfortable.

His showing against Portugal has seen him presented in a new light, and it leaves Wigglesworth thinking he could operate as a hybrid back-rower.

“He can definitely play seven, but I think there’s this role where he can be a test match six or seven.”

However, Wigglesworth spoke honestly about the strong competition Pearson faces to get into the number seven jersey for England: “The personnel that is around, there’s Ben Earl playing eight who can also play international seven, we’ve got Underhill, we’ve got Tom Curry and we’ve also got Ben Curry to come back.”

He added: “Tom Pearson’s got the frame to play test match rugby at six”.

Pearson is clearly catching the eye of all involved at England, but he might have to switch across the back-row if he hopes to break into the starting XV.