Updated: Thursday, 24th April 2014 @ 10:45am

Impressive England Under-20s fly-half Tommy Bell will succeed at Sale Sharks, claims former Lions star

Impressive England Under-20s fly-half Tommy Bell will succeed at Sale Sharks, claims former Lions star

By Ben Baker

If he had his way John Bentley would lock Tommy Bell in Headingley and throw away the key such has been the impression he has made at Leeds.

But the former British and Irish Lion knows he must let the young fly-half spread his wings, fully expecting him to take the Premiership by storm with Sale next season.

Leeds brought 19-year-old Plymouth-born Bell in on loan from the Sharks looking to get him some first XV rugby experience while helping the Yorkshire club bounce back to the Premiership in the process.

And while he failed on the latter – Cornish Pirates’ 21-20 win over Bedford on Sunday putting an end to those hopes – he certainly didn’t disappoint with his performances this season, kicking 199 points in the regular season to sit third on the scoring charts.

Former England-man Danny Cipriani might be winging his way from Australia to Sale next season with his eyes on the No.10 jersey, but Leeds’ Community Marketing Manager Bentley fully expects the former Ivybridge Community College pupil to give him a tough fight.

“Tommy Bell’s been very good for us, he’s a young guy but he’s got a very mature head. He’s been involved with the England set up he’s a good goal kicker, he has a bit of everything really,” said SSE ambassador Bentley.

“He’s been one of the stand-out performers for Leeds and we’ve all been pleased with him and what he has brought to the side.

“It is just a shame we haven’t had him on the field for longer than we’ve had. Because of his involvement in the Six Nations with England Under-20s but we understand that.

“I want him for Leeds next season but ultimately yes he can break into that Sale team so if he does go and stay away then good luck to him.

“He might be young and Sale have a squad full of quality but Tommy has impressed me and I would have no doubts about starting him in a Sale shirt.”

Bell found his way to Headingley from Edgeley Park courtesy of an agreement between Sale and Leeds that allows players to come and go on loan.

And while some youngsters arrive in Yorkshire with the wrong attitude, Bentley insists he could have no complaints about how Bell handled himself at Leeds.

“The boys who come to Leeds on loan from Sale come initially with a level of disappointment because they want to be playing for their first team,” he added.

“But it’s quite a good working relationship because they get to play first team rugby at a good standard, one below the Premiership and it makes them better.

“And that is exactly the attitude Tommy had ever since he arrived. He is a smashing lad and he worked really hard with us and got a lot out of it.”

John Bentley is an ambassador for SSE Rugby, supporting community rugby clubs in England. Register now on www.sserugby.com to start benefiting from the support and resources on offer, and the chance to win £10,000 of free SSE energy credits for your club