Up-and-coming hooker Charlie Piper says it was a dream come true as he became a world champion with England.
The Harlequins player featured as the young Red Rose secured their third World Rugby under-20 Championship title in four years with a commanding 45-21 win over Ireland.
Former Horsham Rugby Club colt, Piper, came on as a replacement to help his team-mates over the line in the grand final at the AJ Bell Stadium.
The former Cranleigh and Hurstpierpoint College pupil was called into the squad as injury cover for the final two games and also came off the bench in their semi-final victory over South Africa.
The 20-year-old has labelled it as a whirlwind couple of weeks and said: “It’s unbelievable. It was a great opportunity just to have come into the squad late through injury.
“To be involved in the semi-final and final was a fantastic opportunity for me to show what I am about and the level I am on for my age.
“It’s unbelievable to be in the England team and a dream come true to win it. You dream about playing in matches like that and at this level.”
The front-rower was on loan at National One side Rosslyn Park last season and Worthing Raiders the season before that, having signed at Quins in 2014.
He has made one first-team appearance for the English Premiership side, but playing in front of a 10,000 strong crowd as England added to wins in 2013 and 2014, is the youngster’s proudest moment to date.
Especially as he overcame a dislocated shoulder earlier in the season which effected his opportunity with the under-20 squad at the time.
He said: “It was a great performance in the first half and we took it away from them in the second. Obviously you just want the team to do well, you are exciting to get off the bench, but do just want the team to win as we are a close group of players.
“It was a great experience, the crowd were amazing as was seeing my friends and family after the game. People have been watching at home as well and the support has been amazing, it’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks.”
Piper, who has played for Sussex and also cricket for Horsham, added: “I have had a great couple of years and it’s been a great opportunity to sign a new two-year contract. Hopefully, I can push on into the first team squad.
“I am at Rosslyn Park on loan again next season and hopefully I can get a bit of game time again playing there and hopefully impress the coaches and push into the Harlequins team.”
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