Palace hero Wright has Twickenham final date

Ian Wright, the Crystal Palace, Arsenal and England goal-machine, is switching codes this week.

Wright will be at Twickenham on Wednesday shouting, “Come on my son!”, as his youngest boy, 16-year-old Stacy Wright, runs out on the hallowed turf to play in the Daily Mail Cup final for Whitgift.

Stacy, 6ft 1in tall and 18st, is a formidable prop forward in the Whitgift under-18s team that is seeking to defend the national schools’ title they won for the first time last year.

The whole of the school will be bussed to Twickenham after lunch on Wednesday to cheer on Stacy Wright and his teammates against Oakham, from Leicestershire, a school that has won the trophy twice before.

Like his father, Stacy Wright has a clear idea of what his job on the pitch involves. “It’s all about graft,” says the sixth former, who has already won county honours with Surrey.

“Obviously, I used to play football, but I never really enjoyed it because I was always bigger. My strength was wasted in football, but when I started playing rugby here I really enjoyed it.

“I like the scrummaging and the tackles, so prop’s a good position for me.

“I’d rather make the big hits, and leave kicking the points and scoring the tries to the others in the team.”

Ian Wright: still a hero with crowds at Arsenal and Palace

Those others include captain and scrum half Tom Nicholls, pacy full back Chris Crane, and Elliot Daly, the England under-20s outside centre who scored seven tries in the recent junior Six Nations.

Wright’s dad has followed Stacy’s progress from the touchline through the competition, and it will be a big family affair at Twickenham this week. “My nan’s coming down, my cousins, uncles and aunties, and loads of friends, too,” Stacy says. “There’ll be a lot of us there.”

Wright thrives on hard work, doing three or four rugby sessions each week under the guidance of head coach Chris Wilkins, plus another three sessions in the gym.

And his father’s advice before the biggest game of his life? “He’s just said to keep calm and not be nervous. There’s no point in worrying about it.”

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