Gloucester Rugby: Tom Savage deserves plaudits - Sinbad
VERSATILE Tom Savage is a quick learner and a shrewd operator with a big future ahead of him, believes James Simpson-Daniel.
Simpson-Daniel pounced on a Savage pass for a stunning try in Gloucester's 29-22 Premiership victory over Wasps at Kingsholm on Saturday.
The 30-year-old speedster was awarded 1873 supporters club man of the match – but quickly claimed fast-improving Savage merited all the acclaim.
Savage only started playing serious rugby at 16, and arrived at Hartpury College for further education as an unknown.
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But after blasting his way into Hartpury RFC's first XV, Savage also badgered then Gloucester coach Bryan Redpath to train with the Cherry and Whites.
Savage captained Hartpury to the National Three South West title, and then signed a senior contract with Gloucester.
Now in his second full Kingsholm season, the 23-year-old has been consistently excellent in Gloucester's four matches so far this term.
Simpson-Daniel sees shades of England World Cup-winner Richard Hill in Savage's game – but purposefully stopped short of tipping the developing talent for the international stage.
Simpson-Daniel said: "I shouldn't have been given that man of the match award, obviously I am delighted and proud to receive it, and I would never turn it down, but I would have given it to Sav.
"He reminds me a bit of Richard Hill. He might not make a huge headline, but he's valued amongst the squad hugely.
"I'm not saying he's going to win 100 caps, but he does all the little things, he carries the ball, hits very hard.
"And Sav put me away for the try, because he carried, straightened up and forced their defender to make the decision. My credit goes to him, and I thanked him afterwards too.
"I'm not going to put my neck on the line about how good he can be, but in the first four games of the season he's played outstandingly well.
"He's certainly doing everything right at the moment. I imagine it's a pretty straightforward meeting when he sits down with Hoggy (Carl Hogg) on a Monday to review his performance.
"You show him something, he learns from it, then he does it. It's a great trait to have.
"It only gets harder when people start to pick you out as a threat, and that's why you need to have your head firmly screwed on.
"And Tom is very level-headed, which will stand him in good stead. All wingers want to get the ball in a little bit of space, and that's what he did for me that time.
"The best thing about Sav is his attitude. He does what you tell him to, no arguments, and he knows his limits – not in a bad way at all – he's not trying to be a superstar, he'll do all the simple things well.
"And that's harder than it looks.
"He's versatile, and in a long season you need strength in depth, so to have someone who can be equally useful at either lock or back-row, that's hugely valuable."