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How 'frustrated, emotional' Quirke is coping with England setback

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Steve Bardens/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

Sale boss Alex Sanderson has explained how rookie scrum-half Raffi Quirke has been coping in recent weeks with his rejection by England when it came to matchday selection in the Guinness Six Nations. A try-scorer in the November win over South Africa in what was his second Test match, the 20-year-old was chosen in the England start-of-the-week squads for the recent games against Scotland and Italy. 

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However, Eddie Jones has twice cut him from his plans when it gets to midweek, leaving the young half-back to head back to Sale to try and prepare for weekend Gallagher Premiership matches rather than he involved with England in Edinburgh and Rome. 

Instead, the centurion Ben Youngs and the rookie Harry Randall have been the England matchday scrum-halves, a decision that has left Quirke leaving camp at Pennyhill following two days of training and returning to Sale to play some part in their games versus Harlequins and Worcester. 

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He had 50 minutes as a starter at The Stoop and then 30 minutes as a sub at the AJ Bell and he is now set for a full week of training with Sale ahead of their game at Northampton after he failed to gain selection in the 25-strong England squad Jones has with him in London for their fallow week training camp. 

Asked how the in/out England selection process has affected Quirke in recent weeks, Sale coach Sanderson told RugbyPass: “Initially like anyone would, disappointed, frustrated and emotional but only initially and then we have a chat, we reframe it, we take on board what Eddie wants him to work on and we put a plan in place and the asset test is how that translates at the weekend which is nothing short of exceptional. 

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“He was outstanding at the weekend when he came on (against Worcester), set up two tries and kicked really well and passed well so we have got a decent little routine, not that you want a routine of that nature of don’t get picked, give us a call. 

“We have got a decent enough relationship where I feel like he can say how he feels and that is part of the process. You understand, you get a plan and you go back and you do it better.”

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finn 8 hours ago
Massive red flag raised by weakened Champions Cup teams – Andy Goode

I wonder if the problem of some teams not taking it that seriously would be helped by making performance in the champions cup count towards qualification and/or seeding in the following year’s competition. Eg. top four seeds would be winners of the URC, premiership, and top 14, plus best performing team in the previous year’s CC who have not otherwise qualified. Doing that the seedings for this years comp. would have been: Tier one: Saracens - Munster - Toulouse - la Rochelle Tier two: Sale - Stormers - Racing 92 - Leinster Tier three: Leicester - Connacht - Bordeaux - Exeter Tier four: Northampton - Ulster - Lyon - Sharks Tier five: Harlequins - Glasgow - Stade Francais - Edinburgh Tier six: Bath - Bulls - Toulon - Ospreys The competition would probably work better with fewer teams, so I’d probably favour only the first 4 tiers being invited, and then going straight to a quarter final without a round of 16. On the one hand this would possibly incentivise teams to take the champions cup seriously, and on the other it would mean that the latter stages would be more likely to involve teams that have demonstrated a willingness to take the competition seriously. The main differences between my proposed system and the actual draw is that mine would give la Rochelle a fairly easy ride to the quarters, and would either exclude the Bulls entirely or would give then an insurmountably difficult draw. As it happened Exeter got quite an easy pool draw but that was a bit of a fluke. My system would reward Exeter for being one of the teams that demonstrably devote a lot of attention to the CC by guaranteeing them a good draw.

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