Coles has 'taken another step' at Saints this season

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Alex Coles feels like he has taken a step forward at Saints this season.

And the talented young forward believes he has been able to increase his physicality since the end of the previous campaign.

Coles has become a key figure in the Saints starting 15, so much so that he has caught the eye of England boss Eddie Jones.

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The 23-year-old was named in the Red Rose's recent training squad, along with six of his club-mates.

And Coles, who has so far racked up a total of 75 appearances for Saints, said: “I think I’ve taken another step.

“It was really important for me, the back end of last season, getting those multiple starts in a row, it was really helpful for me in finding my feet and finding my form.

“I then had a fairly injury-free pre-season, so I had a good pre-season under my belt and I’m hoping that I’ve kicked on.

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“I feel more physical than I was last year and there’s still a long way to go there, but I feel like I’ve made strides and the momentum from the back end of last year was important for that.”

Alex ColesAlex Coles
Alex Coles

Coles linked up with England for a couple of days after Saints' defeat at Harlequins earlier this month.

“It was good,” he said: “I just tried to keep my head down, get to work and show what I can do.

“It only really ended up being one training session, but hopefully I put my best foot forward.”

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He added: “It came out of the blue, pretty much. I got a small sort of whiff that they were looking at me, but nothing more than that.

“I wasn’t really expecting the call-up, I was just focusing on playing for Saints, so I was really delighted with that.

“But it was only one training camp and I’m trying not to get too ahead of myself, so I’m just focusing on Saints for the moment.”

Coles has shown an ability to find his way over the try line in recent times, scoring twice against Wasps last weekend to take his tally to three in as many matches.

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He also had a couple of chances he felt he could have taken against Quins.

“I maybe should have got one against Harlequins, as several people have told me,” Coles said.

“I thought (against Wasps) I couldn’t be messing up again, so I was thankful I managed to exorcise some of those demons!”

“I feel like it’s something I’ve always been fairly alright at, running those support lines. I try to gamble and get on people’s shoulders, but it’s seemingly only come off in the last few weeks.”

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Saints secured a dramatic 40-36 win at Wasps last weekend, snatching the victory with a last-gasp Courtnall Skosan score.

And ahead of Saturday's home game against Newcastle Falcons, Coles, who will start at six, said: “I think that would certainly be a lot easier for everyone’s nerves if we could start better and take more control of the game.

“That’s what we’re planning to do. Obviously, we won’t be wanting to leave it to the end like last time and we just keep saying to keep backing what we’re doing.

“We’re creating loads of opportunities and one of these games soon it will click 100 per cent and hopefully we’ll put a big score on a team.

“Hopefully Newcastle will be the game for that, but they’re a tough team, they’re gritty, they don’t make things easy and they’ve been playing some good stuff, so it’s not going to be an easy game.”

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