|Venue: Twickenham, London Date: Saturday, 13 November Kick-off: 17:30 GMT|
|Coverage: Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app.|
After coming close to giving up rugby following his release by Newcastle Under-18s a few years ago, Adam Radwan wanted to savour every moment of the Twickenham experience last Saturday.
“It probably didn’t really hit me until we got there,” the England wing explained on the Rugby Union Weekly podcast.
“As the bus approached, it was just packed, it was absolutely packed; there were people absolutely everywhere and there was a tight channel for the bus to drive through the fans.
“I took my AirPods out when we approached, because I wanted to absorb it, I wanted to feel it.”
Radwan’s route to the top has been unconventional and convoluted; after his release as a teenager he played in the lower leagues and on the Sevens circuit before re-joining the Newcastle Academy in 2017.
A string of outstanding performances at club level led to a first cap in the summer against Canada, a debut he celebrated with a stunning hat-trick. Saturday against Tonga, though, was the first time the 23-year-old had played with the full 82,000 home fans in attendance, an occasion he marked with an early try.
“It has been a bit of a weird route, but it has ended up all right,” he added.
“It was just a really special day. And having my family there to experience it as well; I was very proud to have them there. It was just very special.”
Radwan’s combination of footwork and natural speed – he has been clocked in England camp at a peak of 10.85 metres per second but has never been timed over 100m – has drawn comparisons with the Springboks World Cup winning superstar Cheslin Kolbe from head coach Eddie Jones: a major compliment or extra pressure?
“It’s not a bad thing to hear; it probably puts a bit of pressure on, but I quite like that and feel I work quite well under pressure,” Radwan said.
While England’s kick-first strategy has won a few matches but few friends over the course of the past 18 months, the noises are Jones and captain Owen Farrell are keen to break out of their tactical straight-jacket this autumn.
And Radwan insists he is being given licence to have a go against Australia this weekend, even though the stakes will be higher and his time on the ball less.
“Eddie wants me to free up a little bit more and really have a crack. My game won’t change, I know that,” he said.
“My first instinct is always to run first. I think I make decisions in my head without really realising. My legs just take over and it just happens.”
Jones himself hit the headlines in the aftermath of the Tonga game for his clumsy comments about fly-half Marcus Smith and the pitfalls of off-field distractions – citing US Open tennis champion Emma Raducanu – but Radwan offers clarity about what the England boss demands from his rookies.
“What he means is don’t lose sight of the important things. Make sure you are always being diligent and you are always working hard, and don’t think you have made it,” he said.
“At this level it is so competitive and everyone wants to be in this position and this environment, so unless you are constantly working hard then someone else is going to take it.”
For now Radwan is one of the faces of “New England” – a tag coined by defence coach Anthony Seibold on Tuesday – and along with Smith he can invigorate the Twickenham crowd this month.
“There are two players on the pitch that got the crowd more excited than anyone else against Tonga: Marcus Smith and Adam Radwan,” explained Rugby Union Weekly’s Ugo Monye.
“And I love it, because the crowd sees the potential and they expect things to happen.”