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Sam James: Sale Sharks young guns learning all the time

Sale Sharks’ Sam James is confident that his younger teammates will be reap the rewards of valuable game time this season, despite an Aviva Premiership Rugby campaign that has been tough at times for the Manchester side.

Steve Diamond’s team lie tenth in the standings having won just six league games this season, but a valuable 36-26 bonus-point victory over Worcester Warriors last weekend saw the Sharks all but secure their safety.

The 22-year-old played at centre when he burst onto the scene at Sale in his first senior season two years ago, but has switched to the role of fly-half several times this term which has fashioned him into a more versatile player.

And James believes both he and the squad’s younger players will be even more adept at coping with the demands of the Aviva Premiership having come through this term relatively unscathed.

“This season has been a massive learning curve for all of us, especially for myself and Mike Haley,” he said.

“We’ve had to fit into roles that we’re not used to, so it’s all money in the bag really and you’re a better player for it.

“As for the younger boys, I’m sure they’ve relished getting all the game time – the likes of George Nott and both the Curry brothers [Tom and Ben] have been on the team sheet week in week out and it’s really going well for them.

“Hopefully next season we can come out the blocks fighting.

“I can be used pretty much anywhere around the park and I’m happy about that, it just gives me more strings to my bow.

“Clearly I can play at fullback, centre, fly-half and especially if you know the roles in the system that we play in, you can play anywhere and pick it up really easily.”

James toured South Africa with England Saxons in the summer of 2016, and while spots may be available for England’s trip to Argentina in June – while many regulars will be on British & Irish Lions duty – the back is not focussed on a potential call up despite head coach Eddie Jones visiting the club’s Carrington training base last weekend.

He said: “Argentina isn’t on my mind just yet, we’ve got to finish the rest of the games up here. We want to finish as high up the table as we can.

“But when the England coaches come down it’s a massive boost for us.  You can see it in the lads, it gives you an extra spring in your step to show what you’ve got.”

Tickets to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final is on 27 May at Twickenham are now on sale. If you want to have an unforgettable day out at club rugby’s best Cup Final then click here for tickets.

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