Sale Sharks lose captain Gaskell for two months

Sale Sharks have been hit with another serious injury blow in the news that captain James Gaskell faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to injury.

The Twenty year old England Saxons lock forward broke the record for the youngest captain in Aviva Premiership history at the start of the season but injured his leg in training earlier this week.

Gaskell is now expected to be out of action for at least two months which is a big blow for Sale Sharks.

Sale have already been hit with the injury to prop Eifion Lewis-Roberts for the rest of the season and head coach Mike Brewer will not be happy after barely a month of the new season.

Matters might be eased with the return of former England lock Chris Jones who will make his first senior start under Brewer in tomorrow’s opening Amlin Cup clash with Spanish side Cetransa El Salvador at Edgeley Park.

“James picked up the injury in training earlier this week and damaged a ligament in his lower leg,” Brewer told the Manchester Evening News.

“We’re not entirely sure of the full nature of the injury yet but he’s going to be out for a minimum of eight weeks,” the former All Black revealed.

“It’s always a setback whenever you lose any of your players from your senior squad but as James has got injured, so Chris Jones is coming back into it.”

“Chris got another 80 minutes under his belt playing for the Jets on Monday night against Northampton and he started to dominate the areas of the field where he should be dominating, in terms of the lineout and loose exchanges.

“So my attitude is that we lose one but get one back and that’s the way that a squad should work. You are not going to go through a season without picking up injuries – it’ s just the way rugby is.

“Chris is ready to come back in and Sean Cox is training well and working really hard so I think we’ve got enough cover there in the second row.”

Brewer is confident that Chris Jones will be a big boost to the team and said, “Chris had a prolapsed disc in his neck and when you are carrying a injury like that and for at least two seasons, its a difficult thing to carry and to hide,” Brewer added.

“You lose strength, you can’t lift and you are reluctant to go into collisions.”

“But Chris had an operation earlier this year and now he’s as strong as he ever has been in these last three years and he’s playing with that increased strength and increased confidence.

“And when he is on his game, Chris is a very potent weapon. I remember watching his display against Wasps last season for Sale and he commanded the lineout and helped Sale get a win which, in the end, proved crucial in them staying in the Premiership.”

Brewer would not be pressed on who would take over the captaincy in Gaskell’s absence even though flanker David Seymour took over the reigns when Gaskell was injured early in the game at Vicarage Road last month.

Brewer indicated in terms of a stand-in skipper he may have to look elsewhere.

“With James out for that kind of time frame, I’m going to have to name an interim captain and its probably not going to be David as primarily I want him to concentrate on the league,” Brewer revealed.

“I’m talking with a couple of players about that now and will probably make a final decision on it sometime next week.

“For the Amlin Cup game against Cetransa El Salvador on Friday, there will simply be a captain for the day.”

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