- Gloucester’s Charlie Sharples will make first England start against France in Paris
- Wing David Strettle ruled out after sternum injury flared up in training
Charlie Sharples will take over from injury victim David Strettle on England’s wing for tomorrow’s RBS 6 Nations match against France at Stade de France.
The Gloucester Rugby flyer will wear the No.11 shirt instead of Saracens man Strettle, who did not come through fitness test this morning on a sternum injury suffered in the Italy game which flared up in training this week.
Interim England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: "Charlie has trained with us throughout the tournament so he has spent a lot of time with the other guys. He almost made the World Cup squad and this is a great opportunity for him.
"It’s unfortunate for David but he has been fitness tested by the medics this morning and is not 100 per cent so it is a straight swap and Charlie is ready to go."
Photo: Getty Images
It has been whirlwind 24 hours for 22-year-old Sharples, who spent a day poised by the phone while on a hotel break with his girlfriend and, after getting the call from Lancaster, arrived in Paris on a separate flight yesterday evening.
Sharples, who made his international debut in the Rugby World Cup warm-up against Wales last summer, is understandably delighted to make his first start at the Stade de France and says after six weeks training with England he knows what is expected of him.
"You never wish injuries on anyone but it is part and parcel of the game and I’m delighted to get a chance," he said.
"The Stade de France is going to be an intimidating place [on Sunday] but that’s why we play rugby – to relish these challenges – so I’m really looking forward to it.
"I’ve been with the boys now for six weeks and feel comfortable within the system and I know all the boys well. It’s strange not having had a normal training week leading up to the game but I feel pretty fresh from having the time off."
England team to face France
15 Ben Foden (Northampton Saints)
14 Chris Ashton (Northampton Saints)
13 Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers)
12 Brad Barritt (Saracens)
11 Charlie Sharples (Gloucester Rugby)
10 Owen Farrell (Saracens)
9 Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints)
1 Alex Corbisiero (London Irish)
2 Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
3 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
4 Mouritz Botha (Saracens)
5 Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers)
6 Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers)
7 Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, capt)
8 Ben Morgan (Scarlets)
16 Rob Webber (London Wasps)
17 Matt Stevens (Saracens)
18 Tom Palmer (Stade Francais)
19 Phil Dowson (Northampton Saints)
20 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
21 Charlie Hodgson (Saracens)
22 Mike Brown (Harlequins)