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Gloucester chief David Humphreys backs Matt Kvesic for England shot

Published 27/12/2015

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Gloucester director of rugby David Humphreys described Matt Kvesic as England's "seven-in-waiting" after watching his openside rule the breakdown in Sunday's 39-39 Aviva Premiership draw with Harlequins.

Kvesic was named man of the match at Twickenham with a performance containing 15 tackles and three turnovers, including one steal that led directly to a try for James Hook.

The 23-year-old won both of his caps against Argentina in 2013 - he also excelled against the Crusaders on tour to New Zealand last year - but found his route into the back row blocked by captain Chris Robshaw.

New England head coach Eddie Jones favours a traditional openside, offering Kvesic hope of starting the RBS 6 Nations opener against Scotland on February 6.

Humphreys believes Jones can only have been impressed by his display against a Quins back row including rivals Robshaw, Jack Clifford and Luke Wallace, who arrived as a second-half replacement.

"I have no doubt that Matt Kvesic is an international player, is an international number seven and the England seven-in-waiting," Humphreys said.

"He has got to produce those performances week in, week out, but when to come to a big stage like playing at Twickenham in front of 70,000 - we talked about it before the game - big players produce big performances.

"In the context of the occasion, but more particularly against who he was playing, that summed up where he is. He is ready to play international rugby.

"If you have watched our performances during the course of the season, he has played at an international level almost every week.

"Against a very good team he did really well and he thoroughly deserved his man-of-the-match award.

"He is completely dedicated and hugely ambitious to be part of a successful Gloucester team, but ultimately like all top players he wants to play for England and be their starting seven.

"All he can do is keep producing performances like that and if you are Eddie Jones, he is going to be hard to ignore."

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea was impressed by Kvesic's work at the breakdown, but questioned the legality of some of his play.

"We allowed him to be become too much of a factor in the game by not clearing him out," O'Shea said.

"You could argue that some of the places he was coming from where interesting to say the least.

"Luke Wallace came on and did a pretty good job at the end, but Matt was outstanding around the breakdown.

"We know he is always a factor when you play him and we allowed him to become too much of one.

"Whether he gets a bit of leeway, you ride your luck when you are a seven."

England have been given a Six Nations injury scare when Gloucester wing Jonny May limped off with a knee problem shortly before half time.

"It's always very hard in the immediate aftermath of a game to determine how severe an injury is," said Humphreys, who said number eight Ben Morgan was ruled out by a knock sustained on Tuesday.

"Jonny hurt his knee just when he kicked the ball. It's too early to assess the scope of the damage."

Gloucester centre Henry Trinder, making his first Premiership start for eight months, limped off with a hamstring injury sustained while scoring the second of his two tries.

Harlequins and Gloucester each secured three points after a chaotic but thrilling 10-try roller-coaster at Twickenham in which the 2012 champions contributed to each of their opponents' touch downs through mistakes.

"My brother summed it up when he said we'd drawn with ourselves by scoring five tries apiece," O'Shea said.

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