Sam Costelow has had the hype. In reality, he most likely doesn’t want anymore of it however his performances do him a disservice in that regard as a result of they command it.
He was an intriguing signing for the Scarlets forward of the 2020/21 season. A uncommon occasion the place a vastly gifted younger Welsh rugby participant got here again to the nation of his delivery from an English membership, slightly than heading within the different course.
His improvement has been fastidiously managed and, nonetheless solely 21, he was initially used sparingly with then head coach Glenn Delaney refusing to get carried away with the mercurial expertise he had on his arms.
However there have been flashes of brilliance in his first season, cameos that the likes of Paul Turner believed gave us a glance into ‘the future’. However this season has been a bit of bit unsettling at instances, with the Scarlets’ tumultuous journey to South Africa on the finish of final yr derailing his improvement.
Scarlets boss Dwayne Peel admitted as a lot: “He’s had a season where he started a few games early on and the Covid period, when we were in Africa and didn’t play, hurt him a little bit, in all honesty.
“He played against Bordeaux and he was in and out of the side.”
With Rhys Patchell getting back from harm, and searching polished, it appeared Costelow may need to be a bit of extra affected person however the world works in mysterious methods. Patchell has suffered one other harm which sidelined him for the Scarlets’ conflict with Cardiff on Saturday night time. Deeply unlucky for him but it surely introduced Costelow with an opportunity – and he took it.
The diminutive fly-half obtained the higher of his reverse quantity Jarrod Evans – although it have to be famous that the Scarlets pack had been effectively on high and the relative platforms weren’t comparable.
Nonetheless, Costelow put within the form of efficiency that obtained individuals excited. He challenged the road effectively, kicked adequately and moved his aspect across the subject with an air of authority. There’s a clear sense that he’s rising evermore comfy in his personal pores and skin in Llanelli and it bodes effectively.
He additionally seems to have bolted on a little bit of weight, which was required to be able to cope with the bodily rigours of the sport at skilled degree. When he danced round Dillon Lewis, it by no means seemed like Tomos Williams was going to make the overlaying sort out as he powered away from the Wales scrum-half to attain an exquisite solo effort.
He’s starting to seem like the entire bundle – a working risk, a distributor and a stable defender. Beginning a crunch Welsh derby on Saturday night time, in entrance of a house crowd, and guiding the staff to victory felt like a giant stepping stone in his improvement.
Peel agrees: “Yeah it is. I’ve seen a massive growth in him over the last four or five weeks. I’ve just seen him go up a level in his performance in training. He was good in the Sharks game, he was good when he came on against the Bulls and he was good last week. Patch has had an injury and he’s [Costelow] taken his chance. He’s stepped up this week and he’s led the team well.”
The previous Wales scrum-half added: “I at all times say to the half-backs that once they really feel like they will lead the staff and the staff – I do know this sounds bizarre – however the staff is theirs to steer, then I feel he’ll develop and develop.
“But what I will say is that he is still young, there is a lot of learning to do for him. There is still error in his game and there are still areas of his game in which he can get better.
“But he works hard and that is half the battle.”
So the place can we go from right here? Welsh rugby is affected by cautionary tales of age-grade expertise who wrestle to ship on their promise within the skilled sport. Costelow doesn’t seem like he’ll add to the record however it’s right down to the Scarlets to make sure his improvement continues.
With out getting too carried away, senior worldwide honours look inevitable for Costelow supplied he has luck with harm. He can play the pragmatist and he has a mercurial aspect to him as effectively. He’s the proper cocktail, the likes of which Wayne Pivac doesn’t presently have at his disposal.
Being conservative, it will seem this World Cup cycle has come too early however ought to he proceed to develop over the subsequent 18 months and produce extra performances like we noticed on Saturday night time, then he might be the person to conduct the orchestra for the 4 years constructing as much as the 2027 world gathering.
The considered him pulling the strings at Take a look at degree is tantalising however there may be loads of water to move underneath the bridge earlier than then. For now, he must discover a degree of consistency in his sport. When that comes, the sky will turn into the restrict.