Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Sharples set for first start

Gloucester wing Charlie Sharples will make his first England start in Sunday's RBS 6 Nations clash with France in place of the injured David Strettle.

England's interim coach Stuart Lancaster was forced into making the late change after Strettle failed a fitness test on a sternum injury.

Sharples' only previous Test appearance came as a second-half replacement in England's World Cup warm-up win against Wales last August.

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."

Strettle first suffered the injury to his sternum in England's win against Italy in Rome.

The Saracens wing was fit to play against Wales two weekends ago, when he was controversially denied a late try, but the problem flared up in training this week.

Sharples was not initially included in England's 24-man travelling squad but he comes straight into the team as a like-for-like replacement for Strettle.

The 22-year-old is the quickest player in the England squad and he is on form for Gloucester, scoring four tries in his last six games for the Cherry and Whites.


From Belfast Telegraph