Ipswich Rugby Club’s Tui Uru picked for England Counties under-20 side

Tui Uru in action for England Counties under 20s against Nottingham Academy. Picture: www.itmrepubli

Tui Uru in action for England Counties under 20s against Nottingham Academy. Picture: www.itmrepublic.com - Credit: Archant

A talented young Suffolk rugby player is targeting a career in the sport after he was selected against the odds for the England Counties under-20 side.

Tui Uru was picked for an upcoming week-long tour of Holland - including two Test matches against the Dutch under 25 national side - despite a relative lack of experience compared to those he was competing against.

He’s played all his rugby, since he first picked up a ball aged 11, for Ipswich Rugby Club, but was up against players who have seen action at much higher levels of the game – the England Counties side is open to all players who ply their trade in the County Championship and below.

“The way it works is you get selected for your county team first, then regional teams, which are a selection of counties – I was part of the London and South East version,” Uru, who lives in Woodbridge, explained.

“You all come together for a weekend to play each other and from that they pick the England Counties side.

“I’m probably the least experienced in the team – everyone else has played semi-pro, or comes from a Premiership academy, whereas I just come straight from amateur rugby, and I wasn’t expecting to do so well.

“I was quite nervous before the selection process but after a few sessions I gained confidence and knew I could do well.”

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Boosted by the confidence being picked for England Counties has given him, the 19-year-old, who plays at number 8, is now hoping to carve out a career in the game.

“I reckon I could play pro rugby,” said Uru, a former pupil at Leiston High School and Farlingaye Sixth Form.

“I’ve signed a contract with Bury St Edmunds (a semi-pro side who play in National League Two South) and I hope to play a few games with their first team next season, so that’s the next step.

“The end game is to get to Championship level.”

Uru, who came to the UK aged three-years-old from his native Fiji, also thanked all the players and coaches at Ipswich who have helped him progress his promising career.

Of pulling on the famed Red Rose of England for the counties side, he added: “It’s good. The first time I wore it was a big buzz and we all shared that excitement.

“To put it on for an international will be fantastic.”