HENLEY’S Shek Sherrif is one of nine Henley College rugby players who have represented London Wasps in the new RFU U18 Academy League over the past few weeks.
Playing in these matches represents a startling rise in Sherrif’s brief rugby career having only taken up the sport at the age of 15.
Sherrif, aged 18, first played rugby at Gillotts School after moving to England from Sierra Leone where his main sporting interest was football. After playing in his first school match he immediately joined Henley Rugby Club to play in the club’s U16s.
In his first year at Henley College Sherrif played in the development side as well as the successful Henley Hawks U17 team which progressed to the latter stages of the National plate competition.
This season, Sherrif, who is studying a BTEC in Sport, has developed his strength and fitness in the gym under the guidance of personal trainer and current Hawks player Adam Lubbock whilst continuing to gain experience by playing in the club’s colts side on Sundays.
Sherrif cites the physical side of rugby as the main reason for his participation in the sport. He said: “I enjoy the contact side of things most of all, such as carrying the ball and tackling, my long-term goal is to be a professional player.”
College coach Dan Batty commented on Sherrif’s rapid progress this season. He said: “When we brought him up from our college development sides I thought it might take Shek a few games to adapt to the pace and physicality of AASE rugby, but in his first league game against Ivybridge, he came off the bench and effectively won us the game.”
This eye-catching performance resulted in Sherrif being selected in the Wasps U18 side that beat London Irish in the new RFU Academy League.
Batty added that the rugby structure at Henley College provides a good pathway for late developers to progress. He said: “We’ve had nine Henley College players involved in the Academy games so far, of these Shek, Ryan Cole and Jake Elias all started in our development sides, evidence that our system is giving all players the opportunity to reach their potential.”
The other Henley College players to represent London Wasps in the U18 academy this season include Ian Brown, Jackson Burton, Oscar Hirsky-Douglas, Danny Williams, Alex Harrison and Dan Barnes.
The Henley College AASE squad will travel to Georgia at half term for a five-day trip culminating in a fixture against Georgia U18s at the National Stadium in Tiblisi.