Steve Borthwick urges Immanuel Feyi-Waboso to ‘get that ball in your hands’

Immanuel Feyi-Waboso has been ordered to go hunting for the ball when he makes his full England debut in Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations clash with Ireland.

With two replacement appearances in the bank, including a try-scoring cameo against Scotland in round three, the Cardiff-born 21-year-old is considered ready to start on the right wing at the expense of veteran Elliot Daly.

One of the most exciting young talents in the Gallagher Premiership was persuaded by Steve Borthwick to opt for the Red Rose over Wales in January – less than a year after he was playing in the third tier of English rugby for struggling Taunton Titans.

Now that his rapid development has accelerated with a first Test start, he has been instructed to make his pace, power and work rate count against the Grand Slam champions.

“When I watch Manny, I see his ability to come off the wing and pop up off scrum-half – as he did against Scotland – and pop up inside and outside fly-half,” Borthwick said.

“I have seen him several times pop up in the middle and do a pick and go at the ruck because he wants the ball in his hands. That is the encouragement I have for him – get that ball in his hands.

“After I told him he was starting, he was very grateful and thanked me numerous times then asked me ‘what do you want from me?’.

“I said ‘find the ball and get it in your hands’. There are some nuances, but the message was ‘I want you to get the ball in your hands as many times as possible’.”

Feyi-Waboso missed last week’s training camp in York in order to sit an exam for his medical degree at Exeter University, and Borthwick believes he has the temperament to thrive against Ireland.

“Basically we think he’s one of those people who is good at everything. We’re yet to find something he’s not good at, but we’ll keep trying,” Borthwick said.

“We certainly asked him how his exam went, he said he felt it went OK, which I took as he’d aced it. But we’ll find out in due course when he tells us his results.

“I sense he’s a guy who takes things in his stride. He’s a really calm and composed character. And given everything he’s doing in his life, and what he’s gone through so far, it’s a real strength.

“Each challenge that has been thrown towards him, he’s risen to that level and I expect he’ll do the same again on Saturday.”