• Gabriel Ibitoye is regarded as one of the fastest wingers in the Premiership
  • The 26-year-old has enjoyed an excellent season scoring 10 tries in the league
  • Steve Borthwick’s England side will tour Japan and New Zealand this summer  

Gabriel Ibitoye has been backed to bring the maverick wing play he delivers for Bristol to Steve Borthwick’s new-look England set-up this summer.

The lightening quick 26-year-old, who has clocked 10 metres per second on the field this season in terms of speed, has stood out for the Bears despite them narrowly missing out on a Premiership play-off place.

Ibitoye’s raw pace, plus his 10 tries this term and offloading ability, make him a different proposition to many of the wide players available to national head coach Borthwick.

Bristol director of rugby Pat Lam believes Ibitoye and another Bristol man in scrum-half Harry Randall can add a new dimension to the England set-up.

‘He’s electric, he’s beaten more defenders than anybody, and his growth has been impressive,’ Lam said of Ibitoye. ‘We challenged him around getting more involved in the game after Christmas.

Gabriel Ibitoye (left) has been backed to bring his maverick wing play to Steve Borthwick's England side this summer

Gabriel Ibitoye (left) has been backed to bring his maverick wing play to Steve Borthwick’s England side this summer  

Bristol Bears director of rugby Pat Lam (pictured) believes the winger can add a new dimension to this summer's England squad

Bristol Bears director of rugby Pat Lam (pictured) believes the winger can add a new dimension to this summer’s England squad   

Borthwick (pictured) will lead England on a tour of Japan and New Zealand later this June

Borthwick (pictured) will lead England on a tour of Japan and New Zealand later this June

‘He’s been superb. I keep thinking that if you’ve got Immanuel Feyi-Waboso on one wing, Gabs on the other wing and Harry with Alex Mitchell, with the way England want to go you’ve got some serious firepower there. Not many people have talked about him (Ibitoye), but just look at the stats. He creates things all the time. Hopefully he gets a look in.’

England face Japan on June 22 and then two July Tests with New Zealand as they look to build on a promising end to their Six Nations campaign.

The win over champions Ireland and narrow defeat by France pointed to Borthwick trying to deliver a more attacking structure, similar to the one Ibitoye plays in with Bristol.

Exeter’s Feyi-Waboso, Tommy Freemen of Northampton and Saracens veteran Elliot Daly were Borthwick’s favoured England wing options in the Six Nations.

Ibitoye is uncapped at senior level to date. England will announce their first training squad of the summer on Sunday but it won’t include players involved in the Premiership semi-finals.

‘His hands are massive. He can offload and make things out of nothing,’ Lam added on Ibitoye.

‘We look to offload, then go quick and go from slow to fast. He is a big part of that. His work rate, especially in this last part of the season, has gone to another level.

‘It’s been of international level. He beats people for fun.’

Ibitoye has enjoyed an excellent season, scoring 10 tries in the 2023-24 Premiership campaign

Ibitoye has enjoyed an excellent season, scoring 10 tries in the 2023-24 Premiership campaign 

Lam described Ibitoye's (pictured) play as 'electric' and said he has 'beaten more defenders than anyone this season'

Lam described Ibitoye’s (pictured) play as ‘electric’ and said he has ‘beaten more defenders than anyone this season’ 

Key Gloucester backs Adam Hastings and Santi Carreras are in contention to return from injuries for Friday night’s crunch European Challenge Cup final with South African side Sharks.

Scotland fly-half Hastings hasn’t featured since the semi-final win over Benetton due to a series of different knocks. Full-back Carreras is back in training after having his appendix removed.

Gloucester’s poor Premiership campaign reached its nadir with a 90-0 hammering by Northampton but they could yet end the season with two trophies having already won the Premiership Rugby Cup. Gloucester director of rugby George Skivington said: ‘We will do everything we can to bring silverware to Gloucester.

‘We’ve put our eggs in the two baskets of the cups which is why this is a big game for us.’ Friday’s final will be played at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Gloucester's poor Premiership season reached a low point last week after the Cherries were hammered 90-0 by Northampton last week

Gloucester’s poor Premiership season reached a low point last week after the Cherries were hammered 90-0 by Northampton last week

They returned to thump Newcastle 54-14 this weekend ahead of their European Challenge Cup final against Sharks

They returned to thump Newcastle 54-14 this weekend ahead of their European Challenge Cup final against Sharks

Director of rugby George Skivington (pictured) said his side 'will do everything to bring silverware to Gloucester'

Director of rugby George Skivington (pictured) said his side ‘will do everything to bring silverware to Gloucester’

Northampton Saints pair Courtney Lawes and Fin Smith, plus Bath fly-half Finn Russell and Exeter’s England centre Henry Slade are the four men on the shortlist for the Premiership player of the season award. 

The bosses of the four sides to make the league’s play-offs – Phil Dowson (Northampton), Johann van Graan (Bath), Alex Sanderson (Sale) and Mark McCall (Saracens) – are the coaching award nominees. The winners will be announced on Wednesday, May 22.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here