Cranleigh School friends Charlie and Sam face off in Under-18 international

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Two Cranleigh School pupils had to put their friendship to one side for 80 minutes when they played on opposite sides for their countries.

Charlie Piper and Sam Arnold, both 17, became the first two Cranleigh School pupils to face each other in a competitive international rugby match when they faced off in an England v Ireland Under-18 match over the Easter holidays.

The match was played just outside Dublin as saw Sam’s Ireland side win 30-15.

Sam and Charlie’s achievements were unique enough to catch the eye of international rugby magazine Rugby World, where an article has already appeared.

Cranleigh’s director of rugby, Andrew Houston said: “Sam and Charlie have been close friends for a number of years, playing with Sussex and Harlequins throughout the age groups.

“They are both in the same boarding house (East) and spend a lot of time together off the pitch also.

Charlie, who came through the colt ranks at Horsham before signing for Quins, said: “It was amazing to have the opportunity to represent our countries.

“We have both been pushing each other in training and get up early for 6.30am weight sessions. It was incredible to get the reward for our efforts”. Sam, who only started training for Ireland Exiles in March, added: “It was all so quickly: from playing in a trial to representing my country all happened with six weeks.

“It was a great day and made even more special as Charlie was there as well.

“We can’t wait to play the reverse fixture next year, if selected. I know Charlie will be desperate to win next time round.”

The boys were both key members of the Cranleigh School First XV who had a terrific season winning ten of their 12 matches.

Mr Houston added: “Both these guys really applied themselves and have continued to set a great example to all the players within the School. They train hard and really do go the extra mile.”