Zach Mercer challenged by boss to win over Steve Borthwick in final


Gloucester coach George Skeffington believes the uniquely talented Zak Mercer can use Gloucester's European Challenge Cup final with the South African Sharks at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Friday to secure a place in England's summer tour squad for Tests with New Zealand and Japan.

Mercer scored Gloucester's first try in Gallagher's latest Premier League 54-14 win over Newcastle Falcons on Saturday and was awarded the club's Player of the Year award to highlight the impact he has made since arriving from Montpellier last summer.

The 26-year-old made his final two appearances of 2018 and has not been selected by England manager Steve Borthwick since his return from France, but Skeffington is confident his “unique” ball-playing skills can bring him further international recognition this summer. .

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“All the players involved in those games have a chance to show (England) what they can do,” Skeffington said. “Zach is unique and there's no one in the Premier League who can do what he can do. It depends on what Steve wants to do on tour and it's a competitive situation.”

“Zach is absolutely on edge, and whenever I spoke to Steve, he was right in the picture and in the conversation – and he didn't get sacked. It's probably going to come down to how the guys go and the big games over the next couple of weeks and every game from now on is going to be a big game.

Gloucester

Sharks

Charlie Atkinson's goal kick was disallowed on the outside half to allow him to focus on other areas of his game as he presses Adam Hastings for the starting number 10 shirt. The goal kick was accepted by half-half Colan Inglefield who is relishing the responsibility and fired more than five conversions from all angles in the win over Newcastle.

“Caulan is a fantastic kicker and from Charlie's point of view, he wasn't happy with the way his goal-kicking was going and we said he should stop that for a while,” Skeffington explained. “Charlie actually lives with Caulan and told him he could take over the kicking duties for a while.” Of time, this relieves him of this burden. Charlie is a good player, but he has fallen into chaos.





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