Colchester Rugby Club celebrate triple England honours

THE chairman of Colchester Rugby Club has spoken of his pride after seeing three former youth players go on to represent England this season.

First former youth player Alex Day earned England Under-18 recognition after starring for Ipswich-based St Joseph’s College, among others, in the last year or so.

Then Mike Haywood, who had been with Colchester since the age of nine, more than took his chance with the England Under-20s squad after the Northampton Saints hooker was a late replacement for Billy Vunipola, of London Wasps, for the age group’s Six Nations in mid-January.

Starting in four of the five matches, Haywood was part of the victorious Under-20s that achieved the Grand Slam, scoring his first international try in the final match in Ireland.

Now Tom Crozier has made it a triple national success for Colchester after he made his first start for the England Under-18s Clubs and Schools team at the weekend.

Mirroring Haywood, Crozier received a last minute call-up after head coach Paul Mullans was deprived of two youngsters – leaving the Colchester teenager with mixed emotions.

Crozier, who also plays for Eastern Counties, said: “I was gutted not to be picked originally but I knew I had come close. I remained confident so that if I got the call up, I’d be ready to go. When I trained with the squad for the first time, the strength of the side was immediately evident.”

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But Crozier seemed well suited to such surroundings last Sunday after impressing on his debut – and scoring his first try – for the Under-18s in their 58-33 defeat against Worcester Warriors Academy Under-19s.

Experimenting with different combinations, England used the match as a warm-up for this weekend’s big game against Ireland Under-18s Clubs and Schools at Ashbourne RFC.

The trio’s international honours are a tremendous accolade for Colchester and has left club chairman John Powell a very proud man.

Powell said: “We are delighted with how well Alex, Mike and Tom have done this season. I think it reflects fantastically on the coaching offered by our mini and youth section.”

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