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Bates relishing England opportunity

Bristol Academy U18s wing, Jack Bates says he is relishing his opportunity on the international stage after being named in the England U18s squad for the Aon U18 International Series in South Africa.

England kick off the series against France on Friday (August 10th) before facing on Wales (Tuesday, 14th August) and South Africa Schools (Saturday, 18th August) at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport.

The 16-year-old - who studies at SGS Filton and plays for the Bristol Academy U18s – says he is delighted to have been included in the 26-man squad and looking forward to his first taste of international rugby.

“To be honest, the call-up was a bit of a surprise, but I’m so pleased to have been named in the squad and really excited about what’s to come in South Africa,” said Bates.

“It’s obviously a huge honour to represent your country and if selected in the match day squads, I’m really looking forward to the opportunity.

“On a personal level, I had a good season for Bristol in the U18 league and was pleased with my performances, but I know this is another step up in intensity.”

Bates has also spent a period of the pre-season campaign with the Bristol Bears senior squad and is now aiming to follow in the footsteps of Charlie Powell, who made his senior debut for the club last season having also spent the summer in and around the senior setup.

“Watching how Charlie (Powell) and Will Capon kicked on last season and made their club debuts has given me a lot of confidence and inspiration. It gives me an example to follow and shows that the opportunities are there if you work hard and take your opportunity.

“I know I’ve got a long way to go and I’m fully focused on improving every day and enjoying my rugby, starting with the England U18s.”