Bath Rugby have taken the right approach with Kyle Eastmond, says British Lions legend
British Lions legend John Bentley believes Bath Rugby are reaping the benefits of having "patience" with fellow cross-code convert Kyle Eastmond, writes Ben Baker.
Eastmond arrived at Bath from St Helens last season to a considerable fanfare and was heralded as the next Jason Robinson, but injury restricted the 23-year-old to just three appearances from the replacements' bench.
This term, however, he has become a feature in the team under new head coach Gary Gold, helping himself to tries against Wasps and London Irish.
Bentley, who began his career in rugby union before an extended spell in league and then a return to the 15-man game, insists Eastmond has was it takes to succeed.
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"It's taking him a little bit of time but he's a player with a huge, huge amount of potential," said Bentley, who is an SSE Rugby Energy ambassador and toured with the Lions in South Africa in 1997.
"It has taken him time to settle but that's only natural and I think the way he has been handled by Bath and allowed to develop is 100 per cent the correct way – there's no need to rush or expose him too soon.
"I think it's a challenge coming from league to union. It's probably easier going the other way from union to league.
"When you're tackled it's very fast and dynamic, it momentarily stops and we start spreading, looking to play the ball.
"In rugby union when you get tackled that's when the game commences and that's one of the big difficulties about coming across.
"But you know he's surrounded by a good group of players and some good coaches there, he has an opportunity and it looks like he's making the most of it.
"I wouldn't want to predict whether he has what it takes to emulate a player of the calibre of Jason Robinson but what I would say is he has a special talent and if he keeps working hard, he could become a very special player for Bath and maybe also with England."
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