Sharples delights in EPS spot
January 11, 2012
Charlie Sharples has set the Premiership alight in the past couple of seasons © Getty Images
Gloucester's Charlie Sharples is revelling in his England call-up though there was bad news elsewhere for the Cherry and Whites with the news that fullback Olly Morgan will miss the rest of the season.
The Gloucester wing narrowly missed out on World Cup selection last summer, being among a final group of players cut from contention by then England boss Martin Johnson. Sharples, though, features in the squad named by interim England coach Stuart Lancaster that will prepare for this season's Six Nations Championship.
"It is relief, excitement and enjoyment - a whole mixture of feelings," Sharples said. "I set this as a target coming off the back of the World Cup. I had had a taste, and I wanted more. "It was my goal to push on and get back in the mix, and I am really happy that I have managed to do that. You always want to be progressing, and I feel that is happening with my rugby."
Sharples is the only Gloucester player to have made the elite squad, although five others - Jonny May, Henry Trinder, Freddie Burns, Nick Wood and Luke Narraway are in the 32-man England Saxons group.
A notable but expected omission from the senior England group is Gloucester centre Mike Tindall, whose off-field behaviour at the World Cup commanded more attention than his performances on the pitch. Tindall has yet to make any announcement about his international future, although there has been speculation that he could now step down from the Test arena.
"Mike is a senior player here, and his focus is here," said Gloucester head coach Bryan Redpath.
Redpath, meanwhile, confirmed that fullback Morgan - an outsider for England recognition - will not play again this season. Morgan faces knee surgery after he was carried off during last weekend's Aviva Premiership defeat at Worcester.
"It is quite a severe injury," Redpath added. "He will have surgery next week, and he will be out for six months. He has damaged his knee pretty badly."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Despite having lost all four of their 2014 Six Nations games, the future of Italian rugby is bright with the team showing a new youthful core, argues Enrico Borra
"The loudest cheer at a rugby game, away from social media gimmicks, pumping music and pyrotechnics will always be for a try." Tom Hamilton on the Twickenham atmosphere
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'