Former Whitgift School pupil Elliot Daly has been called up to the senior England squad ahead of this Saturday’s Six Nations rugby international at Twickenham against France.Daly, 20, got his first call-up to the senior England Saxons team – the national B side, effectively – only last month, with the Wasps back playing two games, both out of position at full-back.
Daly, an England under-16s international at cricket as well as rugby, was widely regarded as the outstanding player of the Whitgift School side, which also included 2012 Olympic discus thrower Lawrence Okoye, and which won the Daily Mail Cup national schools competition in 2010 and 2011.
It seems unlikely that Daly will get to play, or even be named among the replacements, for the France game, as his call-up comes as cover for the injured Ben Foden, the Northampton full-back. Foden recently lost his starting place in the England XV to Alex Goode, who seems certain to be named in the team by head coach Stuart Lancaster on Thursday. Daly’s favoured position as outside centre is currently well resourced, with Manu Tuilagi being kept out of the starting side by Billy Twelvetrees.
In reality, Daly’s presence at the Pennyhil Park training base is to help with squad training sessions while Foden recovers from his ankle injury – but it represents a meteoric rise for the Croydon-born youngster with some keen sense of timing. England play France having as the only unbeaten side in this year’s Six Nations, and with a home World Cup coming in 2015.
“Getting in the elite is the main goal for every rugby player in England, but I am just really happy to have the chance to show them what I can do,” Daly said.
Chris Robshaw, the England captain, is also originally from Croydon, having played his mini and junior rugby at Warlingham, while another Whitgift Daily Mail Cup-winner, Danny Cipriani, like Daly a former Wasps Academy player, now the Sale fly-half, is beginning to rediscover the form that won him seven England senior caps five years ago.
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