Marland Yarde was devastated to miss out on this year’s Six Nations but as he attempts to secure a place in England’s World Cup squad, the winger is convinced the snub was the making of him.
After starting all three of England’s Tests against New Zealand last summer – scoring two tries in the process – and also featuring in the autumn internationals, Yarde was dropped come the Six Nations.
The 23-year-old resolved to work on his game as he watched the likes of Jonny May, Anthony Watson and Jack Nowell impress for the Red Rose.
Yarde is now part of head coach Stuart Lancaster’s 50-man World Cup training camp and as he looks to secure a spot in the final 31-man squad, the powerhouse insists he’s a better player than when he last pulled on an England jersey.
“Last season was a massive learning curve for me. For the last couple of years I’ve been in the squad and the Six Nations was the first time I didn’t make it in,” said Yarde, who was speaking as part of the England Team at the official launch of the Canterbury England Rugby World Cup kit.
“So that took me by surprise a little bit but if anything that inspired me to reflect, better my game and see ways in which I could improve.
“That was my sole focus at the time and I think I did in the second half of the season.
“I think I’m a better player now than when I played New Zealand 12 months ago – my game and my standard has got a little bit better and that all comes with experience.
“I’m back to hitting my best form, hitting my straps and now I’ve just got to keep myself sharp. If I’m playing to the best of my ability, I’ve got a good chance of making the squad.”
Yarde made the switch from London Irish to Harlequins last summer and admits that adapting to life at his new club took some time.
But the winger believes he began to hit his straps in the second half of the season and is now approaching something like his best form once again.
Five players are expected to be cut before England head to Denver this weekend as part of their preparations and Yarde is hopeful that his new lease of life will see him included in the travelling party.
“I underestimated how hard it would be moving clubs but playing with my new teammates week-in and week-out really helped me and now I’m really happy with where I’m at,” he added.
“I’m playing really well at the moment and it’s about transferring that on to the field for England
“Working and gelling with new players was tough, it sometimes takes a bit of time.
“I’m really happy with Harlequins and I enjoyed my time there but it’s about me now, and making an impact for England.”
Marland Yarde was appearing alongside his England team mates at the launch of the innovative England Rugby World Cup shirt #CommittedtoEngland. Visit Canterbury.com