London Irish prop Richard Palframan admits making his first Aviva Premiership Rugby start against Sale Sharks on Sunday was the proudest moment of his career so far.
The 21-year-old South African tighthead made an impressive appearance as the Exiles came from behind to run out 25-23 winners, thanks to Alex Lewington’s try double.
Signed from the Sharks in Super Rugby, Palframan was only 18 when he made the brave decision to join Irish, but the young-gun insists his gamble to come across the world to make a name for himself in Aviva Premiership Rugby has paid off.
And Palframan was thrilled to be able to help his side shrug off their European hangover after they went out of the Challenge Cup to Edinburgh the week before.
“It was a very pleasing accomplishment for me obviously,” he said. “A proud day for me and my family on my first start and it was an awesome experience.
“I’ve played Championship Rugby last year and in National 1 at the beginning of this year, and the step up was obviously massive.
“It was tough on the lungs but I thought I did pretty well and I really enjoyed it.
“That was a massive result for us. We’ve been working really hard and we wanted to play with a lot of ambition.
“We made it a little hard for ourselves at times, but a win’s a win and it was a great result and one we needed.
“After the quarter-final disappointment it was a tough environment to be in but everyone sucked it up, and I think we did really well to do that and get the win.”
The victory moved the Exiles ever-closer to Gloucester Rugby in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table, and with just three rounds to go Palframan is hoping his side can push themselves as far as possible up the standings.
But he concedes more playing-time is the prize he craves the most, having made massive strides in his game this season – particularly at the set-piece.
He said: “We just want to enjoy our rugby now, win as many of our final games as we can and try and climb higher up the table.
“We’ll see how Glenn (Delaney) picks the team but of course I’d like to play again as soon as possible. I’ll take it one game at a time but if I get the opportunity I will do what I do.
“It’s great to be involved and it was a good start for me. But I have to keep my feet on the ground, keep working hard and hopefully I’ll be rewarded.
“I’m still a young guy and learning a lot from all the boys at training. I feel I have really improved a lot over the past few months so the work is paying off.
“I know have a long way to go and keep grafting, but all Glenn has said to me since I’ve been here is ‘work on your scrummaging, work on your scrummaging’.
“That’s coming good now and I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made there. I’ve really developed and I still love life in England.”
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