Gloucester Rugby: Mike Tindall excited by the prospect of Tom Savage at Kingsholm
TOM Savage is not just a natural leader – he will also become a crater-punching loose-forward weapon, believes Mike Tindall.
Bruising back-five forward Savage can follow in the wrecking-ball boot prints of Sione Kalamafoni, Ben Morgan and Akapusi Qera, reckons Gloucester's player/backs coach.
Gloucester rugby director Nigel Davies has already admitted former Hartpury College skipper Savage is in the reckoning to become Cherry and Whites club captain next season.
With current skipper Jim Hamilton heading to Montpellier, the Kingsholm club will need a new playing-squad general.
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And 23-year-old Savage's string of composed and muscular performances this term have not only cemented him as a first-team regular – his showings have also positioned him as a credible future captain.
Savage took the armband for the very first time, and at the last minute, when a hip injury ruled Tindall out of Gloucester's 29-23 Kingsholm victory over Worcester Warriors on February 22.
Impressed 34-year-old Tindall said Savage keeps on handling every new challenge thrown his way with aplomb.
He explained: "I've always said to the coaching group, you look at the young guys coming through, and Sav's a natural leader of that.
"He's done captaincy through Hartpury and things like that.
"But his attention to detail in training and matches is fantastic.
"And then he has a presence about him as well, when he talks, people listen, even though he's a young man, and I think going forward he's a really good leader for the future.
"He leads by example through his performances – and he's only going to get better and better as a player.
"If you think about the impact he has had in just two years at the club, then that is only going to increase as time goes by.
"He's a very physical player anyway, but as he continues to improve his tactical understanding, then he will also start punching bigger holes.
"He can have the same kind of impact with the ball in hand as guys like Sione and Ben Morgan."
Hailing Gloucester's latest crop of fast-improving youngsters, Tindall backed the likes of Ryan Mills and Dan Robson to position themselves as the long-term bedrock of the Kingsholm squad.
England's most-capped centre continued: "The only way these guys gain experience is through playing, and it's up to the coaching staff to give them total belief that we've got full confidence in them.
"If you look at the Northampton game, what we could have done at Wasps and then sneaking through against Worcester, it's all building their experience in games that go right down to the wire.
"We've got a lot of young guys, it's been a learning curve for Ryan and fly-half is not really his first position anyway.
"He's come back from a long-term injury and done exceptionally well for us, handling a lot of pressure falling on his shoulders straight away.
"Jimmy Cowan's knee injury ending his season is obviously a blow, losing someone of his experience.
"But Dan Robson has played some fantastic rugby recently, and he and Dave Lewis are more than capable of handling things for us, and in some style, between now and the end of the season."