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Peter Butler column: England's woes, Charlie and Sharks

By The Citizen  |  Posted: November 20, 2012

HAT-TRICK HERO: Ben Morgan on the way to scoring one of his three tries agaisnt London Welsh

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WHILE Thomas Waldrom was busy struggling in an England team, Gloucester's Ben Morgan was plundering a hat-trick of tries at Kingsholm on the weekend.

As statements of intent go, Morgan has to be happy with that, but you do wonder how much importance can be placed on an Anglo-Welsh Cup game.

The difference in opposition between Australia and London Welsh is obviously vast, but Morgan showed he has the capability to become an England regular of the future with the highlight performance of his Gloucester career so far.

I actually think England are handling Morgan quite well by not selecting him at the moment.

There will always be controversy because Waldrom – a New Zealander until a year ago – is getting picked ahead of him, but confidence can be quite a delicate thing and you have to let it build.

Three tries against London Welsh will have done the Gloucester number eight the power of good.

Imagine what Waldrom will be feeling after England lost probably the one international they were expected to win against 'the big three'.

I'm afraid England carried on exactly where they left off against Fiji when they faced Australia.

Wasted chances weren't so much of an issue the week before, because the next opportunity was only ever just around the corner.

But waste five or six chances against Australia, which England did, and those are likely to be the only ones you get in a game.

Against South Africa and New Zealand, they will be lucky to get two or three chances which means on current evidence those games are looking very difficult.

Unlike the club game, international rugby is a difficult arena in which to build any form because games come in fits and starts.

Whereas Gloucester have been able to build layer and layer of momentum throughout the season, England don't have that luxury, which makes Stuart Lancaster's job a totally different beast to Nigel Davies'.

Either way, Lancaster is now faced with the difficult task of picking up his troops and getting a performance out of them against the two best teams in the world at the moment.

TREAT THE SALE CLASH LIKE ANY OTHER GAMEVICTORIES over Fiji and London Welsh are the perfect preparation for the rather tasty visit of Sale to Kingsholm this weekend.The Sharks have had a dreadful start to the season under former Gloucester boss Bryan Redpath (inset), who has already been moved aside.However, they come to Kingsholm having scraped their first victory in their last Premiership game against London Irish.I'm sure Nigel Davies will be acting to stamp out any complacency in the Gloucester ranks.Confidence is one thing, but that can easily lead to over-confidence which can come back to bite you.Davies will be hoping Stuart Lancaster doesn't turn to the likes of Ben Morgan, Freddie Burns and Billy Twelvetrees in the England camp.Morgan is perhaps the most likely to get a call but I think Davies will be expected to be without only Charlie Sharples for the return to Premiership action.It's important Gloucester treat this like any other Premiership game.A performance needs building and if the Cherry and Whites try too much too early, it could be their downfall.I'm sure Davies will be saying all this to his troops during the week, and I would expect a thoroughly professional performance from the players selected on Saturday for the slightly strange noon kick-off.Treat the Sale clash like any other gameCHARLIE MUST BE GIVEN A CHANCE TO ESTABLISH HIMSELFIT WAS a difficult game for England’s Charlie Sharples against Australia.You could see every time he received the ball he was desperate to make an impact, and sometimes could be accused of perhaps trying too hard.But for a new man to the team in what was a pretty poor performance from England, he can’t be too disappointed with how it went.I just hope Stuart Lancaster continues to support the Gloucester man.He has to be given a run of games to establish himself at international level and to me that would mean up until the end of the Six Nations.Lancaster has to back his decision to pick Sharples in the first place and give him the chance to establish himself in England colours.It is another huge step up from club level, and Sharples has shown before the appetite he has to adapt and improve.I am very confident Sharples can become a success for England. He has all the tools at his disposal and now he just needs to be managed properly, much like Ben Morgan, before he becomes a fixture in the England team.

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  • SimonGray  |  November 21 2012, 6:39AM

    Rupert has been tremendous this season. It would come as no surprise if his name was top on the team list.

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  • StanFromGlaws  |  November 20 2012, 11:40PM

    Rupert Harden.... The first name on the team sheet.

    |   5
  • Wilson640  |  November 20 2012, 10:58PM

    What was that you wrote? Rupert Harden's the first choice tight-head at Gloucester? Too right he is!

    |   4
  • Deadeye_Glaws  |  November 20 2012, 9:11PM

    Lest the troll akadau forgets, let me remind him that the first choice tight head at Gloucester Rugby is RUPERT HARDEN!

    |   5
  • alex_bound  |  November 20 2012, 8:03PM

    akadau, the irrelevant old man still trolling. You would think at his age he would have grown out of it. PATHETIC!

    |   6
  • CurtDowne  |  November 20 2012, 7:45PM

    We just may have to overuse him. #lackofstrengthindepthattighthead

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  • Drusus  |  November 20 2012, 7:13PM

    The trouble with Rupert being top dog in the number 3 shirt is that he may get overused without adequate back up.

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  • LucaTowers  |  November 20 2012, 6:50PM

    Yes, we are heavily reliant on Rupert on the tight-head side. It would hit Gloucester hard if he gets called up.

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  • Archie_Brew  |  November 20 2012, 1:28PM

    It would leave us really exposed in the tighhead position if Rupert was called up again.

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  • Drusus  |  November 20 2012, 12:56PM

    I am looking forward to Rupert Harden (Gloucester Rugby's first choice tight-head) getting the call up once again. He fully deserves it for the way he has played this season.

    |   8