Super League

Diamond: Charnley could be a gem for Sale and England

Sale Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond is confident Josh Charnley can prove a success in rugby union and has tipped the wing to push for international recognition.

Charnley will leave rugby league giants Wigan Warriors at the end of the 2016 season and follow the same path taken by Jason Robinson, who switched codes to join Sale in 2000.

The most recent high-profile English convert from league to union, Sam Burgess, was fast-tracked into the national team only for his inclusion to polarise opinion – and he swiftly returned to the 13-man code with South Sydney Rabbitohs following England's abject exit from the Rugby World Cup.

Nevertheless, Diamond believes Charnley – the scorer of 148 tries in 152 Wigan appearances to date – is capable of catching the eye of England coach Eddie Jones.

Diamond told Sky Sports: "I think he comes with the right mindset and determination to have a good crack at it. It is a little bit of a gamble, but we're not risk-averse here. There was a gamble 15 years ago with Jason Robinson and he made it and three or four others have.

"He's certainly got the potential to be an international, without a doubt. His try-scoring ability alone tells you that.

"With Eddie Jones coaching, he's a similar coach to myself, he's not risk-averse. He will look at a player who's in form and if he [Charnley] can dab the ball down as many times in rugby union as he does in rugby league then I'm sure he'll get an opportunity."

Assessing the potential of Charnley, Diamond told Sale's official website: "He's got the full skill-set really, he can kick goals, and can play full back or wing. As long as he can take the breakdown situation in hand quickly, then he'll be a revelation.

"We've got a long career of developing top-class wingers here and he fits the mould. I think if he can work hard and make the transition then we've got a gem on our hands."