After getting a taste of first-team action during Sale Sharks’ recent European adventures, Ciaran Parker admits the experience has left him desperate for more.
Parker made his Sale debut when he came off the bench against ASM Clermont Auvergne a fortnight ago and then saw more game-time as a replacement against Munster last time out.
The prop was on the losing side on both occasions as the Sharks’ European Rugby Champions Cup dreams came to an end.
But the 19-year-old, who has previously captained the England U18 side, believes he will become a better player because of the experience.
And despite the results, Parker admits the matches will live long in the memory.
“It has been really good to get involved with the first team – making your debut against Clermont is dead special,” said Parker.
“Every player wants to be playing against big teams, so I have been really excited about getting the opportunity to play.
“It was pretty nerve-wracking playing in front of a home crowd for the first time but it was really good.
“Even though it was only for a few minutes, it was special to be able to get involved on the pitch with some of the big names I was playing against and with.
“Against Munster, especially with a lot of the younger lads coming on, we learned a lot from the experience.
“It was a bit of a shame about the result but we will get better from these tough experiences and hopefully we can progress over the next few weeks.”
With Sale in action in the LV= Cup, a competition known as a proving ground for talented youngsters, over the next couple of weeks, Parker will have ample opportunity to impress Steve Diamond and the coaching staff.
The youngster’s ability has also come to the attention of the international coaching staff – the prop receiving a call-up to the England U20 squad for the upcoming Six Nations U20 Championship.
And Parker believes his experience in the national set-up will benefit his club game as well.
“It’s great to be called up to the England U20s,” added Parker. “Over the next few weeks we’ve got the junior Six Nations to play – so we’ll be playing Wales and then France, following the senior team.
“Hopefully we’ll do well in that, I can learn a lot from the experience and then bring that back into the first-team environment at Sale.”
Tickets for this year's LV= Cup Final on 22 March at Franklin's Gardens are now on sale. Click here to snap one up from just £20 for adults, £10 for juniors to see who will win the first silverware of the season.