Henry Purdy is targeting a long-term future at outside centre but that doesn’t mean the Gloucester Rugby new boy isn’t loving life as a utility man.
Purdy landed at Kingsholm off the back of two years at Leicester Tigers and a Junior World Cup triumph with England Under-20s this summer.
By his own admission, the Oxford-born back has been thrown in at the deep end this Aviva Premiership Rugby season, regularly deputising for both the injured Henry Trinder at centre and England’s Jonny May on the wing.
And after landing a new contract with the Cherry & Whites this week, Purdy is hoping to line up alongside the likes of captain Billy Twelvetrees for years to come.
“I think long-term I would be a 13 but I am more than happy if I can offer this squad more than one thing,” he said. “I am equally happy on the wing but long-term I think 13 is the place for me.
“[Twelvetrees] has obviously got a lot of experience and he is a top quality player and the captain of the club. To play alongside someone like that and talk through things with him, I can learn so much in terms of communication and following his lead.
“I have obviously enjoyed the game time I have had this year and I have been able to show what I can offer here.
“As a young guy it is what you want. I want to be trusted and credit to the coaches, they gave me the backing early doors. I appreciate them having the confidence in me.”
No.13 is the shirt Purdy was wearing when Gloucester beat Zebre 35-10 last weekend, making it three wins from three in the European Rugby Challenge Cup this season.
But as they prepare for a return visit on Saturday, the 20-year-old admits the Italians could be a different animal on their own patch.
“You do hear these things and you try not to pay too much attention to them,” he added. “They came to Kingsholm and they really put up a fight and they made it really tough for us. I’m sure it will be exactly the same, if not more, when we go to Italy.
“It was a bit of a scrappy effort – we just needed to tick a few more boxes. It wasn’t quite the performance we wanted and we need to work at a few things and play with a bit more accuracy.”
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