Exeter Chiefs prop Jack Stanley is eyeing up the next stepping stone at Sandy Park after helping the club to a fifth-place finish at the Premiership Rugby / RFU U18 Academy Finals.
Stanley and co produced a second-half comeback at Allianz Park on Monday to edge past Gloucester Rugby’s Under-18s 11-6 in their fifth-place play-off.
And, after already tasting LV= Cup action earlier this season, the 18-year-old is eager for more as he continues to impress the Chiefs hierarchy.
“It’s a feeling I can’t really describe,” he said. “There is a lot of adrenaline on the day and a lot of things go through your mind but you’re out there just to play rugby regardless of how many people are watching you.
“Fans want to see you do well so you just need to focus on what you’ve been told and follow the people that make you aspire to be a better player on the field like Dean Mumm, just doing what they do and you can’t go wrong really.
“There are a lot of leaders in the squad and they don’t want people just tagging along and coming for the ride.
“A lot of the forwards have close relationships and there is a lot of pushing and motivation that goes on to try and get you in the right frame of mind.”
Stanley was just one youngster aiming to impress on U18 Finals Day, where the next generation of Aviva Premiership Rugby players are given a chance to showcase their talent in a bid to secure professional contracts.
And while he is proud of his Exeter’s victory on the day, he believes there will be plenty more opportunities to make his mark.
“A lot of our boys are still at college and we’ve got the AASE competition so we’ll be going back to normal training and building towards that,” he added.
“I’m involved with the England Under-18s this year and we’re playing France on Sunday so that’s the next thing for me.
“There are a lot of players I can look up to, like Dan Cole. How well he scrummages is quite remarkable week in, week out and he is quite inspirational for me with regards to the set piece.
“Watching him get it right against international props is something that inspires me to want to do the same.”
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