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Sharples targets Twickenham joy

England speedster Charlie Sharples insists he is ready for another champagne moment at Twickenham if he is fast-tracked into the team for Saturday's Investec challenge against Wales.

Sharples is the quickest man in the England squad, having clocked 4.82seconds for 40 metres, and he was described this week by squad-mate Ben Foden as "the fastest white guy I have ever seen".

The Gloucester wing was initially called up to provide cover for the injured Chris Ashton but he has been the surprise package of England's Rugby World Cup training camp and said: "."If I was to be involved this weekend and getting a cap would be the sort of thing dreams are made of. It would just be a fantastic occasion and I just have to keep my fingers crossed."

Sharples has made such an impression that he survived the first round of cuts and he has overtaken both David Strettle, who played in the Six Nations, and James Simpson-Daniel in the pecking order.

Manager Martin Johnson will name his team to face Wales on Thursday lunchtime - and Sharples is under serious consideration for a Test debut.

"I played at Twickenham for St Peter's, Gloucester in the Daily Mail Cup final in 2006. I scored a hat-trick in the semi-final and another in the final. That's where the 'Champagne Charlie' nickname came from!" Sharples said.

"I would never have believed at the start of the season that I would have got here but I feel like I am ready to play."

Speed is bread and butter to Sharples, who scored 18 tries for Gloucester last season and then starred for the Saxons in the Churchill Cup - but even he has been taken aback by the pace of his rapid rise into the senior England reckoning.

"It was just 10 weeks ago that I was finishing up the season with Gloucester and now I am in the England squad in the week of a Test match," said Sharples.

"Once the ball starts rolling, it does go pretty quickly."


From Belfast Telegraph