Day’s delight as England debut ends in victory
ALEX Day has pledged to do all he can to ensure England Under-18s remain the best rugby team in the Northern Hemisphere after making his international debut.
The St Joseph College scrum-half capped a remarkable personal year by starting for England in their 29-12 victory in Dublin over their Irish counterparts.
And the Ipswich-based star said he hoped it would be the first of many national caps after a solid display in the qualifying match for the FIRA Under-18 Championnat d’Europe.
Speaking after his debut, the 17-year-old said: “We’re looking to be the best team in the Northern Hemisphere, which is pretty much the title this side have had over the past two or three years, so it’s up to us to make sure we live up to that and we’ve made a good start.”
After a pretty relentless year where Day has combined looking to impress at the Northampton Saints with winning the National Schools Rugby Festival and progressing in the Daily Mail RBS Cup with his school, the teenager could be forgiven for being a little tired.
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But he admitted he found his international bow even more exhausting given the LACK of rugby he has played in the last snow-dominated weeks.
Day said: “From a personal point of view I thought I played quite well, although to be honest I’m quite surprised I have any fitness left in me after no games in recent weeks.
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“It was my first start for England and it was quite emotional walking out with the rose on my chest. It was a shame we didn’t get to sing the national anthem because the Irish youth sides don’t sing theirs, but at least that’s something to look forward to if I’m lucky enough to play again.”
The lack of match fitness saw Day prepare for Thursday’s match with some ball work on Christmas Day before meeting up with the squad and training at Twickenham – his first taste of the home of rugby.
Day has certainly earned a relaxing start to 2011 but there is little chance with the last 16 of the Daily Mail RBS Cup to look forward to in just a few short weeks.
Then there is the small matter of finalising his first professional contract with the Saints, something he revealed this week was progressing well.
After an amazing 12 months, Day will be hard pressed to match it in the year ahead.
But he is going to give it some, admitting that Daily Mail Cup glory with St Joseph’s College and more caps for England Under-18s – culminating in a summer tour to Australia and Fiji – are top of his list.