National experience will be a boost to The Perse School rugby hopes
Alex Coles on Northampton Saints and England
A trio of players who have earned junior international rugby recognition will be in The Perse School ranks for their semi-final match on Saturday.
Will Tyrrell and Louis McManus have both played for the Independent School Lambs side, while second row Alex Coles has played for England under-16s, and was part of the England under-17 training camp earlier this month.
Coles had been playing his club rugby at Cambridge, but this season has been part of the Northampton Saints under-18s squad in the academy league, where they have won three and lost three of their six games.
“It’s the first year of proper rugby so it was really good to get the experience of playing week in, week out,” said Coles. “And, because it’s so physical, working on your recovery and fitting in your strength and conditioning around that.
“It was amazing because we played at Franklin’s Gardens and we also played at Sixways so we got lots of good experience, almost as if it was simulating how it would be in a professional environment.”
Coles receives plenty of support from the Saints, which includes visits at school.
“It’s just working on all areas like nutrition, strength and conditioning,” said lower sixth student Coles.
“Simon Sinclair (Saints’ Eastern Counties Elite Player Development Group manager) sometimes comes and works on individual skills with me; we even do video analysis so it’s just really helpful to immerse yourself into all those different facets of rugby that I haven’t really thought about before to help improve your performance.”
Coles played for England under-16s against Wales last year, and has recently been at a training camp with the under-17s in preparation for a match against France.
“This year, it’s just helped my learning so much,” said Coles. “We’ve had three or four camps throughout the year and just playing with guys who are really switched on with a lot of quality.
“The coaches really challenge you, so as well as Saints it’s really helped me push on with my rugby.”
He added: “Long-term goals are to keep playing rugby, keep enjoying it and see where I go.
“I would absolutely love to be able to get a contract with Northampton so I guess that is the most immediate goal coming up and then also to keep being involved with England.
“But beyond that, I’m just going to see what happens.”