Richard Cockerill is still getting used to coaching England players at clubs he used to be fierce rivals with at Leicester.
The new England forwards coach, 50, spent most of his playing career at Tigers, before coaching them to three Premiership titles in 12 years.
But now Cockerill is trying to get the best out of those in the Northampton Saints pack.
Lewis Ludlam is leaning on the guidance of a former foe to help him get back to full form
Saints flanker Lewis Ludlam said: ‘It’s weird, him coming into the club and having meetings with him at Franklin’s Gardens. I think he felt a bit shifty round the place!
‘I’m just trying to learn as much as possible from him as he has a fantastic repertoire. I’m really looking forward to working with him. I’ve spoken to him about trying to get back to where I was before, what works for me and will help me perform. He said the phone line is open to him to help me progress.’
Ludlam was a surprise member of the 2019 World Cup squad but has flitted in and out of Eddie Jones’ plans since. The 25-year-old reckons he has been too hung up on being picked for England and it affected his performances.
‘I was overthinking things, thinking about the future and selection too much,’ he revealed.
The 25-year-old has been in and out of Eddie Jones’ England plans due to inconsistent form
Former Leicester coach Richard Cockerill has put rivalries to one side to help the Saints star
‘I’m best when I’m enjoying it, ripping in, relaxed, playing my natural game and not overthinking. I was thinking about selection too much. Now I understand that’s out of my hands, so I focus on performing for this team and getting wins.
‘It’s easy when no one is expecting anything of you. That’s the zone I was in before, thinking no one believed I should have been in there. It’s easy when you’re on the bottom. When you’re there and trying to hold on to it, you start to overthink things.’
Meanwhile, England hopeful Gabriel Oghre may miss out on the autumn internationals after he was cited for a high tackle, and could face a six-week ban.
The Wasps hooker received a yellow card for his tackle on Northampton’s Alex Mitchell, but it could be upgraded to a red when he faces a disciplinary panel today. Saints boss Chris Boyd said of Oghre’s hit: ‘If that is not a red, there is no red.’
England start their autumn Tests on November 6, and will play Tonga, Australia and South Africa. Eddie Jones names his squad on Monday.
Cockerill, now England’s forwards coach, says he is always available to offer Ludlam advice
Clubs and agents will meet on Tuesday in a bid to resolve the row over players’ fees. In a bid to reduce the risk of England internationals moving overseas, the RFU is expected to act as a mediator.