Sharples to make Guinness Premiership debut

Charlie Sharples will make his first Guinness Premiership start tomorrow when Gloucester travel to Sale Sharks (7.45pm).


The 18-year-old – one of the youngest players ever to make his senior debut for Gloucester aged just 17 in a pre-season game against Saracens – will jump straight into the starting line-up in place of centre Jack Adams, who broke his nose in the 34-14 victory over London Irish last weekend.

Sharples came off the bench last weekend and will slot in on the wing to allow James Simpson-Daniel to switch to outside centre.

In 11 appearances for Moseley this season, the Gloucester Academy star has scored four tries. After leaving Wycliffe College in Stonehouse, he joined St Peter’s School and scored a hat-trick in the final of the 2006 Daily Mail Cup.

Last summer, he toured with England Under-18s to Australia and has been called up into the Under-20s squad this season.

His inclusion is the only change to the starting line-up that defeated Irish that maintained Gloucester’s lead at the top of the Guinness Premiership.

The only other alterations come on the bench where Luke Narraway returns from England duty in place of Olivier Azam, Ryan Lamb returns from shoulder damage and there is also a place for Leon Lloyd, who comes back after a knee injury.

That means Dan Tuohy – man of the match on his debut – retains his place in the second row alongside Will James and Jack Forster will pack down alongside Nick Wood and Andy Titterrell – who will return to his former club.

The back row of Peter Buxton, Andy Hazell and Akapusi Qera is also unchanged as Gloucester look to build on their advantage at the top of the table.

“I think it was important last week that we didn’t get too swept away with what happened,” said head coach Dean Ryan. “I was delighted with how individuals contributed to a really positive team performance.

“It’s not possible for 18, 19 or 20-year-olds to come in and get everything right all the time but I do expect them to relish the opportunity and be energised by the experience. The key is whether they can reproduce it over a series of games.

“The way the squad is built means someone is always able to come in – we always knew these guys can play but it is about opportunities and they are now coming.

“It will obviously be a big test for us against a team of Sale’s all-round abilities and qualities but another very exciting step for them in their development.”

In the backs, scrum-half Gareth Cooper partners Willie Walker at half-back – it will be Walker’s 12 Premiership appearance of the season.

Adams, who scored last weekend, is replaced by Simpson-Daniel in the centre and he will partner Anthony Allen.

Simpson-Daniel has made only one other Premiership appearance in the centre this season – against Wasps in January – but he scored twice in that position in the EDF Energy Cup against Newcastle.

On the wings, Mark Foster will make his seven Premiership appearance, Sharples will make his debut and James Bailey will retain his place at full-back.

The bench is made up of hooker Jeremy Paul, prop Christian Califano, lock Jonathan Pendlebury and Narraway.

Scrum-half Mike Prendergast retains his place, Lamb returns in place of Sharples and Lloyd takes the last spot – with Dan Norton on England Under-20s duty.

GLOUCESTER (v Sale Sharks, tomorrow, 7.45):
James Bailey, Charlie Sharples, James Simpson-Daniel, Anthony Allen, Mark Foster; Willie Walker, Gareth Cooper; Nick Wood, Andy Titterrell, Jack Forster, Dan Tuohy, Will James, Peter Buxton (capt), Andy Hazell, Akapusi Qera. Reps: Jeremy Paul, Christian Califano, Jonathan Pendlebury, Luke Narraway, Mike Prendergast, Ryan Lamb, Leon Lloyd.   


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