Charlie Sharples gives England a selection dilemma

Charlie Sharples
Charlie Sharples

England coach Stuart Lancaster admits winger Charlie Sharples has given him a selection headache following his two tries against Fiji at Twickenham.

Sharples, 23, won his third cap as a result of Chris Ashton's suspension and delivered an impressive performance.

Ashton will be available to face Australia next weekend after serving his ban, giving Lancaster a dilemma.

"Charlie put his hand up for next week. He was exceptional and gives us a selection decision," he said.

Sharples' two tries in the 54-12 win were his first for his country, following previous appearances against Wales and France.

The Gloucester wing got his chance against Fiji because Ashton was serving a one-match ban after receiving three yellow cards this season.

Ashton, 25, has by far the best strike rate in the England squad, with 15 tries in 26 Tests, but Lancaster admitted the Saracens wing will not automatically win his place back against Australia next Saturday.

"Charlie got his opportunity on the back of Chris's suspension and did exactly what you'd want him to do," he said. "I was pleased for him. I thought he did well."

Sharples said: "I was delighted and I managed to see quite a bit of the ball."

The wing had a third try disallowed after the video referee ruled the ball had bounced on the line, but said he had no hard feelings about the decision.

"It would have been dubious," he said. "I'm happy with two, I don't want to get greedy."

Lancaster also praised Wasps back row Joe Launchbury, Saracens prop Mako Vunipola and Leicester hooker Tom Youngs, who all made their debuts.

"I was really, really pleased for all three of them," he said. "There was a lot of scrutiny on Tom Youngs' line-out throwing, but I think we were 100% in that area.

"He's very tough mentally and added a lot to our scrum and in the loose, so it was fantastic for him. Mako has come on early and you saw some of his ball handling skills and ability to scrum.

"And Joe made that break [down the right flank late in the game] and you see what a great athlete he is. He's only a young lad but has got tremendous potential."

There was also special mention for full-back Alex Goode, who won the man-of-the-match award.

"He's a very intelligent footballer and obviously contributes in attack in all sorts of ways," Lancaster said. "I really like the way he manipulates defenders and puts people into space and I thought he did that exceptionally well.

Highlights - England 54-12 Fiji

"Equally Mike Brown [who came on as a second-half substitute] showed what a threat he can be popping up in all sorts of places from the left wing."

Lancaster admits England will have to move up "three or four" gears against Australia.

"I thought we showed some good shape in attack, took our tries well and our defence looked solid for the most part," he said.

"We still recognise we've got to step up more gears going into what will be a very tough Test next week.

"But I'm pleased overall. If you had said to me at the start of the day we'd get that scoreline, then I'd definitely have taken it.

"The way we moved them around and created opportunities was pleasing. We won't get carried away, we realise Australia are a quality side and we need to be ready for them."

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