England and Scotland gear up for tug-of-war over Tom Roebuck

England and Scotland gear up for tug-of-war over Tom Roebuck’s international allegiance… as the Sale Sharks wing prepares to steal the show in Saturday’s Premiership Final against Saracens

  • The 22-year-old has scored eight league tries for the Manchester outfit
  • Legendary ex-Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson gives finalists Sale a pep talk
  • MIKE BROWN: Premiership final duel is a trial for England’s No 10 jersey 

Sale’s uncapped wing Tom Roebuck will go into the Premiership Final at Twickenham on Saturday as the subject of a cross-border tug of war between England and Scotland to secure his services.

The 22-year-old was called up by Eddie Jones last October for England’s training camp in Jersey, but he did not go on to make his international debut. Roebuck grew up in Cheshire but he was born in Inverness and it has emerged that Scotland have made enquiries about him, while Steve Borthwick has also been in touch, ahead of finalising his pre-World Cup squad selection.

Alex Sanderson, Sale’s director of rugby, confirmed that Roebuck – a powerful runner and proven try-scorer – is in demand, saying: ‘Scotland have been knocking and Tom has had a call from Steve (Borthwick), rightly so, because he wants to keep his options open, regarding back-three selection.

‘Let’s face it, the competition is high, with Arundell, Watson, Steward and all those guys. There are good wingers around. But these are the games that count. These games are the most intensive ones and the kind of games that you make your reputation on; these big occasions.’

Roebuck, who has scored eight league tries this season, has an allegiance dilemma, but the prospect doesn’t appear to be fazing him in the slightest. 

Tom Roebuck is being pursued by both England and Scotland after a strong season at Sale

England head coach Steve Borthwick (left) watched Roebuck during his play-off semi-final against Leicester and Gregor Townsend’s Scotland has also come knocking

‘I’ve not really made too much of a decision about it because I haven’t had to yet,’ he said. ‘I would love to play international rugby. At this point, I have not had to worry too much about it. That’s a good position to be in.’

Asked how he enjoyed the experience of training with England last autumn, the rising rookie added: ‘It was good. Every rugby player wants to play international rugby so to be a part of an international camp was massive.

‘I think it was really insightful to see what other players in my position are doing and what I can take from that and where I can show that I might be better in certain facets. 

Arron Reed (left) and Joe Carpenter are two other Sale players director Alex Sanderson tips for England glory

‘That was a key factor for me, what I can show and what I can take to make me a better player so I am involved in future camps.’

Borthwick may have a wing vacancy to fill in his wider training squad now that Jack Nowell has opted to withdraw from contention for World Cup selection. Max Malins, Ollie Hassell-Collins, Anthony Watson and Henry Arundell all started for England during this season’s Six Nations, while Cadan Murley of Harlequins is another fringe candidate.

Sale have been galvanised by their youthful back-three alliance of Roebuck, Arron Reed and full-back Joe Carpenter, and Sanderson suggested they should all be on the Red Rose radar. 

‘I think they’re all pushing for international spots to be honest but that’s just my opinion and I’m not the England coach,’ he said.

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