Daniel Wheatley, a Year 11 pupil at Steyning Grammar School, has been selected to play for England in the London & South East Under-16’s divisional squad.
He recently attended a three-day training camp in Coventry before competing in a match against the England North U16 divisional squad, resulting in a draw.
Daniel said: “This was really good experience to play at this high level in the sport, and I really enjoyed it.”
Daniel started playing rugby when he was ten years old for his local club Pulborough. He had friends from school that played for the club so he thought he would give the sport a go.
Since then he has played for the Sussex Under-15 and Under-16 squad, an experience that has played a massive part in his career and in the selection process for the South East squad, and Daniel recognises the invaluable support from the coaches.
Daniel has also trained with the Harlequins Academy, a professional team representing Surrey, Sussex and Inner London teams. The academy is for the very best players aged 13 and over that have both the ability and desire to progress through a development programme aiming to equip them for a professional career.
The loosehead prop last season moved to Brighton Rugby Club, where the coaches have really helped build his skill levels and confidence.
Daniel, who says his role model is Leinster and Ireland prop Cian Healy, helped his Steyning Grammar School team to the Year 9 league trophy, the Year 10 district tournament, and then helped the Year 11 team reach the final of the district competition.
Luke Talbot, head of physical education at Steyning, said: “Daniel is an excellent example of the type of positive students that we have representing the school. He is a model student as well as a fantastic sportsman who younger students can aspire to be like.”
Daniel hopes to play against Italy’s under-17 team at Wellington College in April, and is then looking to be picked for the England U16 A team or the Saxons, but added: “I play the sport to enjoy it, so I will take it as it comes along and see how it goes. I am really just going to keep working hard.”