- Gloucester wing back at Kingsholm in an England shirt
- Saxons call-up helped ease pain of semi final setback
Photo: Getty Images
Charlie Sharples will wear an England shirt in front of his home fans at Kingsholm this weekend at the end of a breakthrough season for the Gloucester wing.
The 22-year-old extended a prolific scoring streak on his England Saxons debut last weekend, touching down in the record-breaking 87-8 win against the USA.
Eighteen tries in 29 club games this season – 14 in 14 in 2011 – earned him selection for this month’s Churchill Cup games and the Saxons now face Tonga on Sunday (2.30pm) before taking on either Canada, Italy A or Russia at Worcester on the tournament’s June 18 finals day.
The call came the day after Gloucester’s Aviva Premiership semi final defeat at Saracens and helped ease some of the hurt inflicted by that 12-10 defeat at Vicarage Road.
"It was one of my goals this season to break into the first team and I feel like I’ve done that," said Sharples.
"I’ve played a lot of rugby and ended up being picked up by the Saxons so overall I’m pretty pleased. I’ve been able to score some tries and that’s down to Gloucester and the brand of rugby we’ve been playing. It’s allowed me to show what I can do. As a wing, that’s all you can ask for."
Photo: Getty Images
Sharples duly stepped up into a Saxons squad with an average age of 23 years, nine months and was reunited with former England Under 20 colleagues like Jordan Turner-Hall (Harlequins), Alex Goode (Saracens) and his Gloucester housemate Henry Trinder.
"I’d been told I was going well and that I was on their radar by the Saxons, so I knew I was in the mix but it was still a nice surprise and good for me in particular when I got the call the day after we lost to Saracens from Stuart Lancaster," he added.
"We’d come so close in that game but we knew we’d underperformed and made some basic errors. It’s difficult when you’ve lost by two points and know you could have played better.
"Overall we achieved most of our goals this season, though, we won a trophy in the LV= Cup, finished in the top four and people were writing us off early in the season when we’d had a dodgy spell so we came through that well and proved a few people wrong.
"It was still a tough pill to swallow and now we’ve got to kick on next season, get in the top four and then go on from there.
"We’re back in the Heineken Cup in a good group. Toulouse I’ve never played against and it will be good to have them over here and to go over there and see where we are as a side."
The Saxons have no plans to add a replacement to their Churchill Cup squad at this stage.
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