Hopley proud of Saints’ European champions

James Fish, Harry Mallinder and Rotimi Segun with the Under-18 European Championship shield in Poland © RFU Archive

Academy News Hopley proud of Saints’ European champions

Academy coach Mark Hopley was delighted to see a trio of the Saints’ Academies League winners convert their club form to the international stage as England won the FIRA/AER European Championship in Poland.

James Fish, Harry Mallinder and Rotimi Segun played in all three wins in Eastern Europe including the 30-14 final victory over Ireland.

Hopley praised the youngsters for not only being part of the triumph, but also making an impact when given the chance, too.

“It’s pleasing to see,” he told the Saints podcast. “They’ve played very well for our Under-18s this season and have also been drip-fed some Wanderers action so it’s nice to see them use that to go and perform for England.

“The boys have gone away and done exceptionally well.”

It was England’s third consecutive Euro triumph and took the total number of European champions at the Gardens to seven. Half of the quartet of 2013 champions have already gone on to pull on a first team shirt and Hopley is hopeful they won’t be the last.

“From last year’s four that won the tournament we’ve seen Howard Packman and Josh Skelcey go on to represent the first team and become Wanderers regulars.

“It’s certainly a different kettle of fish for these lads coming into a full-time environment, but these are the kind of stepping stones we talk about.

“Seeing the players make the step up from Academy to first team is extremely rewarding for us and it is good to see the system is working.”

The Saints podcast is FREE and compatible across all devices! You can hear the full interview later this week at www.soundcloud.com/official-saints-rugby

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