Thurston comment 'ignorant, arrogant' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Thurston comment 'ignorant, arrogant'

By Steve Jancetic 11/11/2009 08:46:18 PM Comments (0)

England coach Tony Smith has labelled Johnathan Thurston's blank-faced response to a question about English rival Kyle Eastmond a combination of ignorance and arrogance.

And Smith is backing his young charge to leave a lasting impression in Saturday night's (Sunday AEDT) Four Nations final at Leeds United's Elland Road.

Asked by British journalist for his opinion of Eastmond, Thurston could only reply with a blank-faced "Who?"

Eastmond, who came on in the centres against Australia in the Kangaroos' 26-16 win at Wigan just over a week ago, excelled when thrown into the halfback hot seat against New Zealand last weekend.

He is expected to retain the job for Saturday night's clash at Elland Road, with Smith claiming Australia's limited knowledge of Eastmond and likely halves partner Sam Tomkins is a bonus for the home side.

Asked whether Thurston's remark could be taken as a sign of arrogance, Smith said:

"Possibly, or ignorance - one or the other or a combination of both.

"That's fine, they're good boys, they won't let that bother them whether they're known or unknown, they'll just go about their business like we've seen the last couple of weeks.

"Hopefully they (Australia) won't know much about them before Saturday and they might get a few surprises then too.

"We've got some unknown players - they're trying to make a name for themselves these young blokes, hopefully in time they'll know who is he."

Smith admitted Eastmond would not play a traditional halfback role, with his decision to move him into the playmaking role designed to get the 20-year-old more involved in the action.

"You just want him to roam around and get the ball in his hand," Smith said.

"You want him to go to dummy half, you want him to go to first receiver, second receiver, play a bit of fullback - all of it.

"He can do all those sorts of things."

South Sydney-bound forward Sam Burgess described Eastmond as a similar player to former dual English international Jason Robinson, who made a name for himself as a try-scoring winger in rugby league before forging an even more successful career in rugby union.

"Kyle's an exciting player, he's got a lot of skills and hopefully he can show that on Saturday night - I've got a lot of confidence in Kyle," Burgess said.

"He's one of the quickest blokes I've ever seen - he reminds me a bit of Jason Robinson - we just need to give him the ball and let him run it."

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