RUGBY: In-form Gloucester centre Trinder back on England's radar
GLOUCESTER outside-centre Henry Trinder feels his time has come to break into the full England team.
Trinder, from Bagendon, and a former Cirencester RFC youth player as well as Kingshill School pupil, was picked last week by head coach Stuart Lancaster for the England squad ahead of the QBE autumn international series next month against Australia, Argentina and New Zealand.
That’s reward for a scintillating start to his Aviva Premiership season when, significantly, Trinder enjoyed an uninterrupted run in warm-up games and has remained injury-free since.
Having played for England at U18s, U20s and in the Saxons’ second string side, it was no surprise when he was called up to train with the full squad ahead of the RBS Six Nations last year – only for a trio of injuries over the course of 18 months to stall his career for both club and country.
“I was released from the England camp after the first week to play against Cardiff and tore some ankle ligaments which meant I was out for six weeks,” Swindon-born Trinder told the Standard.
“Then, in my first game back, I broke my jaw and was out for another six weeks.
“That was followed by a torn abductor muscle which just seemed to drag on and on.
“But I had a good pre-season and I now feel fit and strong and back to my best.”
Trinder at his best is a devastating game-changer. Asked to list the strengths which have forced him back into England coach Lancaster’s thinking, Trinder said, with due modesty: “I think this season I have been able to call on all my strengths – pace, handling, vision and kicking. And, at 24, I am a more experienced player.
“It also helps to be surrounded by all the great talent we have in the Gloucester side.
“Billy (Twelvetrees) has had a great year, Jonny (May) is always an awesome threat, Dan Robson has been a great player for us in a position (No.9) where we are very strong – the list goes on and on.
“And then there is Rob Cook, who came in from the Championship and has perhaps been a massive surprise to everyone.
“With him behind you at full back, you know you are safe to focus on your own game.”
Kingsholm likes nothing more than getting behind a lad who has come up through the local leagues like Trinder, but he is no longer the only home-grown talent in the Gloucester dressing room. And the man bidding to wear the No.13 England jersey paid tribute the latest local recruit, former Stow-on-the-Wold youth player Elliott Stooke.
The 6ft 6in 20-year-old lock played a big part in England U20s winning the Junior World Championship for the first time last June.
“Elliott had a great debut for Gloucester against Northampton recently. In fact, I robbed him of the man-of-the-match award that day,” said Trinder.
“He is going to be a really good player in the future.”
Trinder, meanwhile, joined up with the England squad in Leeds on Monday after being rested for Gloucester’s Heineken Cup defeat at Munster due to a slight hamstring problem.
Lancaster and England backs coach Andy Farrell are well aware what a handful Trinder has become this season. Let’s hope he is given his head against some of the finest international sides in the world.