England and Scotland in tug-of-war for Sale Sharks wing Tom Roebuck
Tom Roebuck is the subject of an international tug-of-war with Sale Sharks director of rugby Alex Sanderson revealing that both Scotland and England are circling the highly rated wing.
Roebuck is dual qualified having been born in Inverness but grown up in Cheshire. The 22-year-old was called up to England’s training squad under former head coach Eddie Jones last October after backing up the breakthrough season he enjoyed in the 2021/22 campaign. He has followed that up by scoring eight tries in the Premiership this season.
However, he remains uncapped, which has allowed Scotland boss Gregor Townsend to set up a potential cross-border raid following previous swoops for Cameron Redpath and Ruaridh McConnochie who featured in past England training squads.
Yet Jones’s successor Steve Borthwick remains interested in Roebuck, who combines excellence under the high ball with a rangy running style. And Sanderson has challenged Roebuck together with fellow back three young guns Joe Carpenter and Arron Reed to showcase their international quality in the Premiership final against Saracens on Saturday.
“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,” Sanderson said. “Scotland have been knocking [for Roebuck] and Tom has had a call from Steve [Borthwick] and rightly so, because he wants to keep his options open, regarding back-three selection.
“Let’s face it, the competition is high, with [Henry] Arundell, [Anthony] Watson, [Freddie] 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. All three of them have done it thus far.”
Roebuck is keeping his options open. Townsend has already announced his squad for the World Cup and while Roebuck did not feature in Borthwick’s maiden Six Nations campaign, it feels that wing spots are up for grabs, particularly with Jack Nowell ruling himself out of the World Cup.
His experience in the training camp under Jones only whetted his appetite but Roebuck is non-committal about where his allegiances lie. “I have not really made too much of a decision about it because I haven’t had to yet,” Roebuck 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.
“Everyone knows every rugby player in this world wants to play international rugby so to be a part of an international camp was massive. I think it was just 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. That was a key factor for me, what can I show and what can I take to make me a better player so I am involved in future camps.”