St Ambrose College duo picked for England

Connor Doherty and Tom Walsh
Connor Doherty and Tom Walsh

St Ambrose College young rugby players have won not one but two England rugby caps in a sensational season at the Hale Barns Catholic grammar school.

For the second successive season gritty, terrier scrum-half Tom Walsh has made the national team, while joining him at under-16 level is outside centre Connor Doherty.

Both young men featured in the England’s narrow but exciting 23-22 defeat to the Welsh last week and are set to figure throughout the home nations series this Spring.

The talented twosome are both on Sale Sharks’ books and play for their under-18 side and have their sights set on professional careers.

Tom, 16 from Heaton Chapel, said: “It’s fantastic to play alongside one of your great mates.

“Connor and I have been playing for St. Ambrose since the first year and it’s incredible we have both made it into the England set up.”

Connor, 16, from Sale, added: “Ever since I was a young child I have dreamed of playing for England and putting on that white shirt. Running onto the field was an unbelievable experience.

“It was disappointing to lose to the Welsh but I will still never forget the feeling of wearing the red rose.”

St Ambrose College principal James Keulemans, who played for the Netherlands, said: “It is testament to the hard work, quality and sheer enthusiasm of both staff and boys and is a magnificent achievement for the young men, their families and for St Ambrose.”

St Ambrose under-16 rugby coach, Paul Howarth who has been coaching the boys since they were aged 11, said: “It simply an honour to work with these young men. You won’t find any two young rugby players who work harder or want it more and they have been a joy to coach.”

St Ambrose College director of sport, Nigel Handy, added: “We have seven former pupils who have played professional rugby union or rugby league and we all feel that Tom and Connor will add to that tally.”