Bishopdale teenager selected to play rugby for England U18s

Will Smith in his England U18s jersey with dad Ian.

A teenager from West Burton has been selected to play rugby for England U18s.

Will Smith, 18, will travel to Ireland to play two games on April 24 and 27 against an u18 Ireland clubs team, following a training camp in England.

The former Wensleydale School pupil was selected from 92 players from across the country who attended a training camp at Stourbridge.

Will only started his rugby career at U14 level when he joined Wensleydale RUFC.

He captained the squad at U16 level before moving to play for Ripon where he played for the first team on his 17th birthday.

He said he was encouraged by his dad Ian to go to training on a typically wet Wensleydale winter’s night, with coaches and team managers Pete Taylor, Martin Harvey and Andrew Estensen in attendance.

Thanking both clubs for their support, Will said: “They both have warm and embracing rugby communities and are both brilliant places to develop great young players that will enjoy their time playing there.”

He added: “Pete Taylor has been a pivotal figure in my development and I owe a lot of my success to his coaching enthusiasm and no-nonsense take on the game, he has been my main coach at both clubs and it has been great to have him on my rugby journey.

“I’d also like to say a huge thanks to my mum Pam and dad Ian for going above and beyond in the rugby family role; carting me across the country, washing kit and holding review meetings in the car on the way home.

“I’m really looking forward to this great opportunity and playing alongside and against some great home nations players, as well as seeing the opportunity it brings.

“For me rugby is like life in 80 minutes, you have to work just as hard as the next man and twice as hard as your competitor, if you don’t have a smile on your face you’re probably looking at the game wrong.”

Will Smith playing for Wensleydale U16s against Darlington. Photo: Mark Ashcroft.

Will has already played for Yorkshire U16s 17s and 18s, as well as being a part of Yorkshire Carnegie’s junior academy.

Among his career highlights so far was playing for the Carnegie academy at Leicester’s Welford Road stadium following an Ulster win over Leicester which meant the Leeds team were cheered on by the stadium’s merry Irish contingent.

To find out about playing junior rugby at Wensleydale RUFC click here or for information on Richmondshire RFC click here.