Gloucester prepare for Premiership opener against Sale
11:02am Sunday 1st September 2013 in Sport
IN flying winger Steph Reynolds, Gloucester Rugby have a weapon who could prove just as menacing as London Wasps speedster Christian Wade, according to new skipper Tom Savage, writes Chris Bailey.
Reynolds, who has yet to break into the Cherry and Whites first-team, used the J.P Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby 7s to strut his stuff earlier this month – scoring eight tries in the tournament as Gloucester romped to glory with a 24-17 final victory against Leicester Tigers.
The diminutive 19-year-old may not be the most bruising back to have played the game – measuring just 5ft 9in and weighing in at 75kg – but with 13 Aviva Premiership tries last season, Wade has shown that being small can be an advantage.
And Savage insists Reynolds’ lightning pace and sleight of hand could be just the ticket for Gloucester’s success ahead of the new Premiership season this week.
“If you give guys like Steph an inch of space they’re going to take every opportunity by making yards and going on to score,” said Savage, who was named captain after the departure of Jim Hamilton to Montpellier. “They’re absolutely crucial to have in your team.
“It’s proven now with how well Wade’s done. Some people might have looked at him a few years ago and written him off because of his size, but there’s guys popping up all over the place that are absolutely rapid and doing really well for the team.
“There’s definitely a place for it, especially for a side like Gloucester who love to spread the ball wide, so it’s good to have young guys like that.”
Gloucester open up the Premiership campaign by welcoming Steve Diamond’s Sale Sharks to Kingsholm on Saturday (September 7).
And Savage, who wants to catch the attention of the England selectors this season, believes he is the right man to lead the charge of an increasingly youthful side.
“Looking at the side now I’m probably one of the older boys, so as long as I’m leading from the front week in week out the boys will be happy to follow,” said the 24-year-old.
“You’ve also got the experience of Mike Tindall, Jimmy Cowan and Billy Twelvetrees, who recently toured with the Lions, so with their backing it’s going to be a big team effort.
“The main aim is for Gloucester to be as successful as possible but I think England could also be in my reach.
“I’ve got ambitions to do that and I haven’t had a role in any England age group squads so far either.
“If you play well for your club you’re going to end up getting looked at.”
The Aviva Premiership Rugby eason kicks off on Friday (September 6). The first matches will be crucial. To be there to support your team, buy your ticket from premiershiprugby.com/tickets.