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London Irish youngster aims to boost his Brand with Singha Premiership Rugby 7s showing

London Irish youngster aims to boost his Brand with Singha Premiership Rugby 7s showing

Rory Brand is hoping that the experience of captaining London Irish at the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s will provide him with the springboard for a breakthrough season.

The 19-year-old scrum-half, who was born in Scotland, graduated from Wellington College in Crowthorne last year and subsequently joined the Exiles Academy.

He was selected to lead his side as they took part in Aviva Premiership Rugby’s summer showpiece at Franklin’s Gardens in Northampton at the weekend.

Irish lost their three matches but Brand, who was part of the England Under-20s side that sealed a Six Nations Grand Slam earlier this year, is aiming to push on after savouring the opportunity to strut his stuff in the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s.

“It was an amazing experience, just to play in front of a big crowd and on TV – nothing beats that, especially for a young guy,” said the Exiles youngster, who also featured in the competition in 2015.

“Two years ago, I felt a bit young, a bit inexperienced, and this year, I’ve had an extra year playing adult rugby.

“I came in as captain and that was definitely a confidence boost, for the coaches to show their trust in me to lead the side out, and we’re a bit disappointed with the results but at the end of the day, it’s all about experience.

“I think everyone experienced some nerves before, which is obviously quite natural, mixed with excitement just to get out there and put the shirt on, and do the club proud.

“We lost all our games but I think we did ourselves proud and we can go back to the club with our heads held high.

“For this year, I want to start for England Under-20s, play a few Premiership games if I’m lucky – hopefully I can get my chance to pull on a London Irish jersey in the Premiership.

“There’s the A-League, LV=Cup and European games, so there are definitely a lot of opportunities to test myself this year.”

Brand’s development last year kicked into overdrive as he spent a year on loan at National League One side Rosslyn Park.

The teenager, who has also spent time with Sale Sharks and rugby league outfit Salford Red Devils, is due to keep playing for Park next season after gaining his first taste of men’s rugby with the London-based club.

Brand added: “The big difference was the physicality. As a young boy, you have to not only work on your rugby skills but your social skills as well because you’re going into that environment with men of different ages, which is quite new to me and was a challenge at first.

“Doing a year of that was definitely beneficial to me, not only as a rugby player but as a person.”

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