England star Peter goes back to school

ENGLAND rugby star Peter Richards returned to the Royal Hospital School in Holbrook yesterday to see the refurbishments made to his former boarding house.

ENGLAND rugby star Peter Richards returned to the Royal Hospital School in Holbrook yesterday to see the refurbishments made to his former boarding house.

The London Irish scrum-half, who came on as a replacement in the World Cup final against South Africa in October, boarded in the school's Collingwood House between 1990-94.

After being named as the England Under-16 captain in his final year at the school, Richards moved to the Lords Wandsworth College in Hampshire where he played alongside Jonny Wilkinson.

After signing an array of shirts and rugby balls for RHS pupils, the 29-year-old said: “I had some great years here. When you are at school all the work can seem like a struggle, but I look back on those school years here as being the best of my life.”


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Having been used as a replacement in five of England's World Cup games in Paris, Richards is now being tipped for a starting berth in the side for the Six Nations tournament in February.

He said: “The next World Cup is too far away for me to be thinking about at the moment. I've just come off the back of a tremendous journey in Paris and my ambition now is to get into that starting line-up for the Six Nations.

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“I've gone back to my club and tried to play as well as I can. Hopefully I will have done enough to be in contention for selection come February.

“I'm nearly 30 now and I know I'm not going to be around for ever, but I grew up dreaming of being in the position I am in now and intend to stick around for as long as possible.”

Richards has represented England at all levels, from Under-16 through to senior level. He was also part of the successful England sevens team that won the Hong Kong Sevens in 2004.

Richards, whose father Geoff attended the Royal Hospital School in the 1950s, is well remembered by his former Collingwood house master Lee Menday. He said: “The best way to describe him really is as a loveable rogue. He was very lively, very competitive and a great all-round sportsmen. He was a good cricketer, footballer and athlete too.

“From an early age he did stand out from the others and, as his former house master, I have followed his career throughout.

“We were so proud as a school when he was first selected for England a few years ago and we were even more delighted to see him at the World Cup this year.

“Peter is a great role model for our current pupils. Hopefully him being here will stir them up and give them something to aim for.”

While at his former school, Richards was presented with a caricature of himself by school art master Rob Whitman. Richards also presented the school's Junior Sports Personality of the Year Award to Owen Herbert.

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