An impressively swift rise up the rugby ranks has earned young Melton rugby prospect Isaac Thompson an England call-up.
Thompson has been named in a 23-man England Counties squad for two tests against Ireland next month.
The squad was selected after a three-day national development weekend, held at the end of February, at Stourbridge which drew top young players from across the country.
England’s preparations will include a match session against Ealing Trailfinders Academy on Saturday ahead of the two international matches against the Irish, in Portsmouth, on Wednesday, April 4 and the following Saturday.
Thompson followed his two brothers and joined Melton RFC’s junior ranks aged 10 where he developed an appetite for the game at tight head.
While turning out for Melton in October 2015 he was spotted by staff from Oakham School and promptly offered a rugby scholarship.
The school has a proud record in the game at national level, and playing in these surroundings has increased Thompson’s confidence and helped take his game to a higher level.
In September 2016 Thompson was selected to play for Leicestershire Under 17s, and the following season moved up to the county U18s.
Following matches and selection processes in January and February this year, the A-Level student graduated to the Midlands U18s side, which led to further assessments for the England Counties U18 squad.
England Counties U18 team manager, Dave Penberthy, said: “The standard has improved year on year, and this year the selection process was really tough. “We know Ireland will be very well prepared and will bring a huge amount of physicality, but there is a lot of excitement among our squad and a real sense of team unity already.”