AS ONE Sale and England prop is reaching the end of his career, another is waiting in the wings to fill his boots. But Andrew Sheridan is not departing before leaving a lasting impression on 19-year-old Ross Harrison, and it’s no surprise to hear that the former Lymm High School student’s childhood hero was big Sheri.
Harrison, who can play on both sides of the scrum, started playing rugby when a PE teacher introduced him to the sport in Year Seven. He has never looked back, and having just finished his first year as a full-time member of Sale’s academy, he’s in South Africa this month with England U20 to play in the Junior World Cup.
Harrison played for Sale’s first team five times this season, including in Aviva Premiership matches against Exeter and Harlequins, both games which he admits were faster than anything he’d experienced before. But his national coach Rob Hunter stresses that Harrison is in fine physical shape, and says the young prop, who has played tighthead for England U20, has a big future ahead of him.
“Ross is a hard worker and very coachable,” says Hunter. “He’s quiet but he picks up things very quickly. “Sale’s a very good place for him to be. There’s a good vibe about the place with a lot of young players coming through.”
Time will tell if Harrison can help Sale become the superpower that CEO Steve Diamond desires.
Rugby World Verdict: Harrison is a glimmer of the young talent emerging at Sale. Bea Asprey
Cory Hill will lead Wales U20 out in the Junior World Cup in South Africa despite not having featured in the red shirt during the U20 Six Nations. The powerhouse lock was not injured, however, but instead donned the blue of his region, Cardiff, in the RaboDirect Pro12.
It’s a decision that has paid off for the player and his country, as his head coach Danny Wilson explains. “We felt Cory’s development would be better served by playing for his region. In the past few months he has matured as a leader and his work ethic is first-rate.”
Hill, who measures up at 6ft 4in and 17st 4lb, made 11 outings for the Blues this season, and as the player explains, it has allowed him to take tips from the best. “I have to thank Gareth Baber and Justin Burnell for picking me but I’ve learnt so much from the likes of Bradley Davies, Deiniol Jones and Paul Tito.”
A raft of departures, including Tito and Jones, has left Hill, 20, hoping to clock up more minutes next season under new DoR Phil Davies. “Lots of players worked under Phil when he was with the Wales U20s and speak really highly of him, so I’m hoping for a few more run-outs at Cardiff Arms Park next year.”
A product of Maesycoed, near Pontypridd, Hill is a Wales U16, U18 and second-season U20 cap who cut his teeth at Sardis Road in the Principality Premiership.
First up is the small matter of the Junior World Cup. “It’ll be a special competition and I hope Wales do themselves justice,” says Hill.
Rugby World Verdict: Hill’s leadership qualities and work-rate stand him in good stead. Owain Jones
This article appeared in the July 2012 issue of Rugby World Magazine.
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