Oxford MailRUGBY UNION: Rapid progress delights Purdy (From Oxford Mail)

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RUGBY UNION: Rapid progress delights Purdy

Oxford Mail: Henry Purdy (left) in action for England Under 18 Schools and Colleges last season Henry Purdy (left) in action for England Under 18 Schools and Colleges last season

HENRY Purdy’s career has gone from strength to strength since being told he would not get a contract with London Wasps.

The 18-year-old, from Milton-under-Wychwood, was added to England’s Under 20 squad for the Six Nations after impressing for Leicester Tigers.

And Purdy, who left Cokethorpe School last summer, is looking to take his chance with both hands.

“It was a fairly late decision to join Leicester,” said Purdy, who is former Chipping Norton junior.

“Originally I was with Wasps up until the summer. I found out that they weren’t going to offer me a deal because of financial conditions.

“A lot of the boys had already started pre-season when Leicester got in touch. They gave me an opportunity and it has just gone from there.”

Purdy first heard about his call-up from Tigers teammate Henry Wells in the Leicester’s dinner hall.

Wells had also made it and saw Purdy’s name on an email to players.

“He told me well done for being selected, but I didn’t know what he was talking about at first,” said Purdy.

Purdy had the news confirmed by England Under 20 backs coach Nick Walshe that night.

He added: “I was absolutely delighted. It was something that I wanted to achieve from quite a young age.

“I always had my heart set on it. It is a great honour.”

Purdy appeared for England Under 18 Schools and Colleges last season, but excelling at Leicester and making the full under 20 squad is a big progress-ion.

“I was fortunate enough to get involved in the A League fixtures and it sort of went from there,” explained Purdy.

“I played well in a few games and got my opportunity in the LV= Cup.

“It was my performances in the LV= games that put me in the picture for England Under 20s.”

He added: “Originally I thought that centre was my best postion. However, when I was given an opportunity on the wing, it went fairly well.

“I now like them equally.”

Could Purdy appear in the Premiership this season?

“I think it is possible,” he said.

“At the moment, I am just focused on getting some game time with England Under 20s. If the Premiership comes, that would be a bonus.”

England Under 20s face Scotland in their Six Nations opener at Plymouth on February 1, with the matchday squad announced next week.

Purdy would love to earn a full England cap.

“Definitely, it is a long-term goal of mine,” said Purdy.

“Really I would just love to be a professional rugby player.

“If I can play for England at as many different levels as possible, that would be great.”

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