Isiekwe handed England U18 debut

Nick Isiekwe with his England shirt.

Nick Isiekwe with his England shirt. - Credit: Archant

Nick Isiekwe’s has been handed his debut for England’s U18 team for the upcoming European Championships in Toulouse, France.

The 16-year-old flew out on Wednesday ahead of the first round of games, which starts on Friday when England take on Portugal in Montauban.

The Old Albanian second rower was capped three times by the U16 national side but has been handed his first chance to impress John Fletcher, the U18 head coach.

Isiekwe’s star has been rising fast in recent months.

He was handed a rugby scholarship at Haileybury, which will be a team base for Argentina and America during this summer’s World Cup, and was an integral part in the Saracens Academy’s last-gasp 23-19 win over Northampton Saints Academy at the Premiership Rugby/RFU U18 finals day.

Isiekwe’s proud dad, Michael, called the scholarship a “gift”.

“He’s been given the opportunity to go to Haileybury so he is focused on his education, but, at the back of his mind, he’s hoping for a professional contract,” he said.

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“His mum and I are very proud; he’s been chosen on merit. He’s done everything they’ve asked him to do”

When asked about his son’s England U18 call-up, he added: “They know he’s good enough so bring it on.”

Isikwe is treading a well-worn path to the heights of his sport. Saracens Academy players Maro Itoje and George Perkins both enjoyed spells at OAs before going on to do great things for club and country.

Itoje, 20, looks destined to break into Stuart Lancaster’s side after captaining the England U20 side to Junior World Cup glory in 2014 and Saracens to the LV= title on Sunday.

Perkins, 19, scored a try in England U20’s Six Nations win over France on Friday night, which handed the Three Lions the championship.