A Myerscough College graduate has become the first Portuguese national to play in the top flight of the English rugby union, the Aviva Premiership.
Diogo Fereirra made his debut last week for Sale Sharks, coming on as a replacement and playing an hour of the away game against Leicester Tigers, coming on in front of a 25,000 crowd. Diogo graduated from Myerscough College two years ago with a Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma in Rugby Studies, enabling him to carry on his education at Durham University, while furthering his playing career.
Speaking to Sale Sharks’ official website, 20-year-old Diogo, who is also a Portuguese international, described his journey so far: ‘’I've been in England for four years now. I was in Portugal playing rugby, doing my A-Levels, and I had the chance to come over and join the Myerscough College Rugby AASE programme.
‘’I loved my time there. I then got the chance in the U18 Programme at the Sharks, and then after that I was fortunate enough to be able to go to Durham University and manage everything here at Sale Sharks and get a contract at the same time.
"So for the past two years, I've been at university and been working here in the first team squad with the senior academy!"
‘’It was a pretty big day (to make my debut). I just wanted to go out and enjoy it and I did. It was really tough place to go and play, but I was expecting it to be honest, through talking to the guys here in training. It was a great day for me.
"You just block the crowd out and play rugby and do your thing, and then when you realise there's 25,000 people watching it becomes more exciting than intimidating!"
"I am grateful for the opportunity. Sale are a great club for people like me, they give you a chance if you put your hand up and impress in training. It was a great moment in my career, it was great to make my debut in front of 25,000 people.’’
Diogo was also involved in the matchday squad for Sale’s final game of the Premiership season against Bath at the weekend.
The Myerscough College Rugby Academy is a joint venture in partnership with Sale Sharks Rugby and is the accredited RFU Elite Player Development Centre for the North West. The College’s relationship with Sale Sharks and the RFU gives students a unique opportunity to train as professional athletes and secure a dream job in professional Rugby Union.
Training and playing rugby at Myerscough offers an unrivalled platform for students to demonstrate their skills and break into one of the youth or senior squads at Sale Sharks.
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by Dave Salmon