08:00 Friday 17 January 2014

Burton rugby prospect on a verge of new deal with Gloucester

Written byTOM SLOAN

BURTON rugby prospect James Gibbons is on the verge of signing a new two-year deal with Aviva Premiership giants Gloucester.

The 20-year-old ex-Burton RFC youth has been with the Kingsholm club while attending Hartpury College and is looking to make his way in the professional game.

“We’re in the process of doing the contract but I’ve not signed it yet,” said the tighthead prop, who has been a highly rated prospect for years.

“I’ll be made up to sign for the club. I’ve started the LV Cup match against Northampton and had a couple of benches in the first-team, so it’s been going well.”

Gibbons, who represented England at Student level, is loving life at Gloucester, where England caps James Simpson-Daniel, Billy Twelvetrees and Billy Morgan play, and England’s 2003 World Cup hero Mike Tindall is still employed as a player-coach.

“There’s a great atmosphere at a big club,” he said, “The rugby’s of a very high standard and is a big step up from what I’m used to.”

Gibbons plays in a highly specialised position where players do not really reach anything like their best until 23 – and often later.

The 18st 5lb, 6ft 1in prospect knows he has a lot of work to do, first to make it with Gloucester and then, if possible, to earn a dream call-up to play for England.

“As a prop you don’t really mature until you’re 22 or 23,” said Gibbons. “I’m hoping that in the next two years I’ll improve and be ready for it.

“I’d love to play for England – but then everyone has got to aim for the very top.

“For now I’m concentrating on playing as well as I can for Glouester and improving my game.

“I need to improve in the tight, but then lads who are 23 have a lot more strength that I’ll get with time.

“I have to develop my strength and game knowledge.”

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