Versatile back Sam James was among a shortlist of six players for the Land Rover Discovery of the Season award for 2015/16. It reflected the impact that he made along the way to his inclusion in the England Saxons’ squad for the two-match tour of South Africa this June. Sam’s introduction to that level was off the bench in the opening match at Bloemfontein and he also played in the return game against South Africa A at George the following week when the Saxons clinched a 2-0 series win. His latest accolade was selection for England’s senior tour of Argentina in June this year.
He previously appeared only for England U19 against Ireland four years ago in representative terms but has seized his opportunities after an impressive run in the Sale Sharks side. His debut was in April 2013 but he made a mere four appearances overall before last September.
Sam, a former Manchester player who was originally a fly half, said: “I’ll play anywhere in the centre whether at inside or outside. I’m getting plenty of advice at the Sharks from Jonny (Leota) and Sammy (Tuitupou), who are great role models for me.”
Born in Wilmslow, a Cheshire town 11 miles from Manchester, he was at Wilmslow High School and signed a new two-year deal with the Sharks last February, having spent the summer of 2012 in South Africa, taking part in the U21 Currie Cup with Border Bulldogs.
Sam made the first of his 42 Premiership appearances in 2012/13, has scored 47 points, comprising nine tries and a conversion and was in the starting side for the England XV against the Barbarians this May.
Last updated: 11 June 2017