Ripon starlets prepare for international duty at Festival

NADV 1303021AM Rugby Buddies. James McDaniel with Lexi Belle Brewster, Nathan Fraser (Rugby Buddies) Joe Hazzard, Seth Baines and Dan Webster (Rugby Buddies) Picture : Adrian Murray. (1303021AM)
NADV 1303021AM Rugby Buddies. James McDaniel with Lexi Belle Brewster, Nathan Fraser (Rugby Buddies) Joe Hazzard, Seth Baines and Dan Webster (Rugby Buddies) Picture : Adrian Murray. (1303021AM)

Two teenage rugby stars from Ripon Rugby Club travel south this week to link up with England at an international festival.

Scrum-half James McDaniel, 16, and prop Charlie Capps, 15, will play for the England North team at the Wellington Festival.

The pair, who are also part of Leeds Carnegie’s Academy, attended a training camp with the 72 other players selected for the England Under 16 squads earlier this month.

Their England North side played against Wasps Under 17s in a friendly at St Edward’s School, Oxford but fell to a 22-14 defeat.

McDaniel, who switched from full-back to being a half-back last year, said he was excited to be part of the set-up after the rigorous trials.

The Ripon Grammar School student said: “I never expected to get this far. Me and Charlie have only started playing our positions last year.

“I moved from full-back and he moved from second row. To get this far has been amazing, we couldn’t believe it.

“At Ripon it is like everyone is one huge family but at trials and at Yorkshire you get people playing for themselves to try and impress.

“When you get to England you have to play for the team.”

Capps has bounced back after the disappointment of failing to get into the Carnegie academy at the start of the year.

He also changed position this year, moving from second row, and said his success had surprised him more than anyone.

“A letter came through the post and when I opened it I thought it was going to say sorry you haven’t got in, but when I opened it I was shocked,” he said.

“I wasn’t tall enough to be second row but I prefer it at prop. It is a better position. I like scrummaging.

“I had a couple of trials at the start of the season and they told me they didn’t want me. I was quite frustrated that I didn’t get into Leeds.

“But It made me work harder on fitness and on weights.

“I just hope I play well for England. Then it will give me a good chance to get into the U17’s squad next year.”

At the festival, the pair will square up against France Under 16s B on March 31, Netherlands Under 17s on April 2 and Belgium Under 17s on April 5.