Two members of Priestley’s Rugby Academy were picked to play for England’s U19s in France earlier this month.
Thomas Mckinney and Joe Bajer helped England to victory on Saturday 8th July in Saint Gaudens, winning 33-20.
For Joe, who attended Beaumont Collegiate Academy, the rugby academy – which is run in partnership with Warrington Wolves – was a second shot at achieving his rugby goals having been overlooked by clubs.
“I had a dream to play rugby as a career and if it wasn’t for Priestley College, I wouldn’t be where I am now,” he said. “It means a lot to me; I appreciate it a lot.”
The Rugby Academy at Priestley is designed to allow young players to develop their skillset alongside their studies and is designed to catch any potential stars of the future who are ‘late developers’ and therefore were not scouted at scholarship level.
Both Joe and Thomas have impressed this season for the academy and have been rewarded for their hard work and talent.
Thomas, who also studies Public Services, said ‘it was a massive shock’ to be selected for England, but also very exciting when coach Paul Anderson called to tell him he had been picked.
“Priestley has been very understanding about my rugby commitments and has made sure I am well supported with both rugby and my studies.”