Thursday, 18 August 2022

Former player donates shirt

FORMER Abbey player Tom Willis presented the club with his England U18 shirt last week as a thank-you for introducing him to rugby.

Tom and his older brother Jack both started mini rugby at Rosehill where they made a huge impression from the outset.

They both starred in teams at both mini and junior level before being selected for the Berkshire county youth side. From there they were spotted by Wasps who recruited them to their academy.

That was the start of even bigger things as Jack was streamed into the England squad system trailing the way for Tom to follow.

A broken leg kept Tom out of selection for England U16s but that was more than made up by his selection to the U18 side which toured South Africa, a side which also featured his former Abbey team mate, Ben Loader.

Meanwhile Jack has played in the 2016 U20s six nations championship and in the junior world cup, and is a regular in the Wasps senior squad.

Maria Jaffray, Abbey’s junior chairperson accepted the shirt on behalf of the club and paid tribute to the brothers whom she knows personally. In the audience was proud father Steve Willis, a former Abbey captain and who also started his rugby in the mini set-up at Rosehill.

Jack and Tom are now the sixth and seventh former players to wear the England shirt, Reuben Norville is a youth Scotland international player, Annette Tomas from Abbey Nuns recently represented Ireland in the Dubai International Sevens, reaching the semi-finals, whilst in the recent past Luke Blackburn has had senior Welsh honours for the men’s deaf team.

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