To have one rugby international in a season is impressive, to have two in the same season is a superb achievement for both boys, the school and their respective families. Matthew Radley and Jacob Nickson were both very fortunate over the Easter holidays to make their international debuts for England U16s and England U18s respectively.
Following selection for Lancashire U16s and the North of England U16s, Matthew played in a three day assessment centre at Stowe School for England 16 group and was lucky enough to the picked in the final squad of 22. The team played two UK warm up matches against Leicester Academy, which they lost, and London Wasps Academy, which they won. They then had a whole week over 5th to 11th of April as squad to play two internationals.
The match against the Italy U17 side was held in Parma, and the England boys dominated most of the first half, being 31-6 up at one point. Italy fought back later in the second half and the game finished with England winning 31-20. The side then played at an international festival held at Wellington College. Here the England A and B teams played a number of matches against teams from Belgium, USA, Canada and Holland.
On Wednesday 11th April, England played Wales U16. In a hotly contested match, England won by 39-34. Matthew was fortunate enough to play for England for the full second half of both matches.
Jacob Nickson was equally busy after the England U18 Clubs & Schools side played warm-up matches against Northampton Saints and Leicester Academies. In the full international, held at the magnificent Merchant Taylors School in North London, the England boys took on Ireland U18 Clubs. Jacob started the match and played for the first 65 minutes, before being substituted when England were 31-10 ahead. The final score was 38-10 to England.
Both boys should be proud of their amazing achievements and look back with pride on a truly remarkable season.
To complete a trio of England international caps over the Easter period, Jacob's cousin, Old Arnoldian Josh Beaumont, played for England Students in their defeat in Macon, France. Josh had an exceptional match despite the loss. Josh played against France on the same day that Jacob played against Ireland which made it quite a day for the family.
Our congratulations to everyone!