Versatility taking Daly’s game to next level
ELLIOT Daly insists playing Test rugby on the wing while wearing No.13 for Wasps has made him a far more potent weapon ahead of England’s tour of South Africa.
Daly favours his more familiar No.13 jersey but since being switched to the wing by Eddie Jones in November 2016, the 25-yearold speedster has notched eight tries in 12 games for England and starred for the Lions there in three Tests against New Zealand.
Daly believes his versatility, allied to increased pace, will present a greater threat on the hard grounds of South Africa. He told
TRP: “I feel a more rounded player for playing in different positions and I played a bit at full-back for Wasps when I was younger so it helps you understand what everyone needs from each other.
“I’ve played at 13 most of my life and that’s my favoured position, but I’ve played on the wing in my last 18 months under Eddie Jones and really enjoyed it.
“Eddie puts me there but tells me he wants me to play like a centre and to try and get my hands on the ball as much as possible. I try to get as many touches as I can and keep things as simple as possible.
“I find that knowing what I need from players inside me and vice-versa helps give me an all-round game that you can work on. We do a lot of speed work with Wasps and England as well and I’ve been trying to get even quicker, so hopefully it will all pay off.”
An ankle injury suffered on club duty in December meant Daly missed England’s first three Six Nations games. However, that lay-off, along with the enlightened approach of Wasps boss Dai Young, should ensure he is fit, fresh and firing going to South Africa.
While last year’s Lions tour has taken a toll on some, Daly said: “Dai was very good and I got two more weeks off than other boys around the country, which was great because it gave me no pressure to come back and be at my best straight away.
“He gave me extra time to train and make sure I was okay before I came back into the Premiership in week three, which will hopefully pay big dividends now. The ankle injury was just unfortunate but I feel fresh and it’s all about performing to my full ability.
“The Lions experience last year was something to cherish forever, but there’s a lot to achieve with Wasps and England now and I’m trying to be a better player.”
Wasps are well placed to reach the play-offs but after throwing away winning positions to lose by a point at Leicester and Sale recently, Daly said: “We’ve just got to learn how to play the game better when we get ahead. It’s not a case of reining back our positive style, we’ve just perhaps played a bit too much rugby in our own half rather the opposition’s.
“We want to achieve something special this year and to do that we need to finish in the top four – and we’ll only do that by learning to control games.”
Speedster: Elliot Daly