Old Dalby front-rower called up for junior England rugby squad

Former Leicester Tigers academy player Harry is set to make his international debut for England Counties next week EMN-180327-130650002
Former Leicester Tigers academy player Harry is set to make his international debut for England Counties next week EMN-180327-130650002
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Melton could field two players in an England rugby jersey next week after Harry Clayton was called up for a junior national side.

Clayton joins Melton RFC Colt Isaac Thompson in the 23-strong England Counties Under 18s squad following an impressive season leading the Leicestershire U18s side.

Melton RFC Colt Isaac Thompson is also in the England Counties squad EMN-180327-131149002

Melton RFC Colt Isaac Thompson is also in the England Counties squad EMN-180327-131149002

And the pair could pack down together in the front row, with Thompson playing at tighthead and his Leicestershire team-mate chiefly at hooker.

The national side are currently together on an eight-day camp, ahead of two matches against Ireland Clubs on Wednesday and the following Saturday, both at HMS Temeraire, in Portsmouth.

Clayton, from Old Dalby, captained the John Ferneley College rugby team during five years at the Melton school before taking up the offer of a rugby scholarship at Stamford School.

The forward, who can play across the front row and has back row experience, too, plays his club rugby for Leicester Forest, but also spent a year with the Leicester Tigers Academy in 2017.

“Both my club and schools have had a serious effect on my rugby career,” he said.

“I was in the Tigers DPP (Developing Player Programme) for three years, but I missed out on an academy contract in final selection.

“My coach at Stamford has great links with the Tigers set-up, and after my first season playing for the school I was asked to trial in early March.”

Games against Sale, London Irish and Nottingham Academy followed, but the 17-year-old decided to leave last August to focus on school and county rugby.

“I wanted to enjoy my rugby more, but I loved the standard of training and coaching which definitely improved me as a player,” he said.

“My ambition is to go to Australia next year with school friends and play rugby over there, and then pursue my passion for the sport at university, if I get the grades!”

Dad Paul added: “We are very proud of Harry, and would like to thank Paul Jacobs for his help and contribution towards Harry’s sport while he was at John Ferneley. He has been an inspiration.”