RUGBY: Sharples bidding for England recall
11:09am Friday 27th September 2013 in Sport
HIS try helped Gloucester Rugby record their first win of the Aviva Premiership season last time out, and Charlie Sharples is hoping that will act as lift-off to his ambitions for club and country, writes Paul Smith.
The winger put his side in contention with his first try of the season just before half-time against Northampton Saints at Kingsholm, reducing the deficit to 8-10 in a match his side went on to win 26-24.
Having suffered back-to-back defeats against Sale Sharks and Saracens it was a much-needed victory for the Cherry and Whites, with Sharples admitting it came as some relief in the dressing room.
And the 24-year-old was also delighted to grab his first try of the new campaign. Sharples is keen to produce his best form this season as he bids to help Gloucester finish in the Aviva Premiership top four, while also staking his claims for an international jersey.
He has four England Test caps to his name - the last coming in November, 2012 - and has scored two tries, but is now part of the Saxons squad having seen the likes of Christian Wade and Marland Yarde move ahead of him in the pecking order.
"These next two or three years are big years for everyone in English rugby - this is when you want to be peaking as players," said Sharples, with the 2015 Rugby World Cup on home soil in mind.
"Physically I have put myself in the best possible position to do that. Unfortunately, as a winger you can't always influence the way the game goes.
"The first couple of games of the season were quite frustrating as I didn't see that much of the ball at all.
"I had a good rest and then did a lot of work in pre-season to get myself in good physical condition and I wanted that to carry through to the start of the season so it was nice to get a try against Northampton.
"It's always a goal to get into the Test squad but you can't get too pre-occupied about what is going on there and what you have got to do to get into that position.
"I would love to be back and around that set-up but I just need to give 100 per cent in a Gloucester shirt. I am certain that if I get some good ball I will get some tries.
"They (Yarde and Wade) have been in a rich vein of form and had good seasons last year and have done well in an England shirt. Hopefully, an opportunity will come for me to get back to that level. I will be happy if I am playing well, putting my hand up and doing what I can do."
Sharples and his Gloucester team-mates visit Kingston Park on Sunday to face newly-promoted Newcastle Falcons.
And having secured victory over the previously unbeaten Saints, Sharples believes Gloucester have outlined their credentials.
"It shows us we are not a million miles away," he said.
"The standards we set against Northampton we need to maintain. We don't want to be comparing ourselves to teams lower down the table - we want to be able to beat the teams who will be up there."
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