A Myerscough College rugby student has made his international Six Nations debut.
Jake Pope was part of the England under 20s squad to play in the 2016 tournament opener against Scotland at Broadwood Stadium in Glasgow, being named as a replacement.
The 18-year-old, who hails from Burnley, is currently studying a Level 3 BTEC in Rugby Studies and as well as international recognition has already attracted the attention of Sale Sharks, where he signed a professional contract last year and made his Premiership debut in October.
Warren Spragg is Strength & Conditioning Coach at Myerscough College’s Rugby Academy and says: ‘’This is an enormous achievement for Jake. He will be playing alongside a squad of mostly full-time professional players.
‘’This has the potential to be an extremely exciting year for Jake who has already made his first-team debut for Sale Sharks and will be hoping to maintain his place in the England squad for the rest of the Six Nations as well as the under-20 World Cup which will be held in Manchester later this year.
‘’Jake came to the college as a 16-year-old who had previously played at Preston Grasshoppers but never achieved any representative honours. Since joining Myerscough, he has joined the Sale Sharks on a professional contract which he manages alongside his academic studies and international commitments.’’
England U20 Head Coach, John Callard, said: “We’re looking for the squad to use this competition to continue developing their all-round game. For example, we want functionally fit forwards who, as well as having a strong set piece, are ball handlers and good decision makers right across the field.
"You can always come back to a tighter game but we want players to see this as an opportunity to express themselves and enjoy playing for their country.”
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by Dave Salmon