Thu, 13 Sept 2018
FIN Rossiter said it had always been his dream to lead England out in a competitive rugby fixture – and something he relished when given the opportunity.
Rossiter, from Upper Woolhampton, featured heavily for England under-18s in their AON international series in South Africa.
England came up against France, Wales and a SA Schools side, with Rossiter leading the side out against the Welsh Dragons.
“I was incredibly honoured to be asked to be captain,” Rossiter said. “It’s always been my dream to captain my country.
“I did feel slightly more under pressure, as it was another aspect I needed to think about when preparing and playing, but I quite enjoyed having that pressure.
“I prepared beforehand the kind of things I wanted to say and how I felt I wanted to lead the team.”
Although England lost all three of their games on the tour, Rossiter believes the experience will help his career further down the line.
He said: “It was certainly an experience like no other I’d had before and, while it was tough in many ways, I relished every moment of it and thoroughly enjoyed it all.”
The 17-year-old forward said: “I think in the first two games it took me five or 10 minutes to settle into it, as the intensity and physicality of the game was nothing like I’d experienced before.
“However, I was quick to get over that as there was so much going on and so much to think about.”
Rossiter, who plays for London Irish under-18s, knew that the clash with home side South Africa would be tough, but he managed to keep himself composed.
He said: “I knew that in front of a largely South African crowd was going to be incredibly tough mentally.
“I prepared myself for the crowd to pick up on any mistakes I might make and for them to be loud with support for the SA team.”
The youngster praised the togetherness of the young England side and believes the team bonded for future tournaments as a group.
He said: “It was clear to see by the end of the tour that two weeks together had caused incredibly strong bonds within the group, which is a huge positive for us moving forward.
“Its’s important that I learn and better myself as a player, as I want to put myself in the best position possible to be offered a contract.
“But as an England squad, the expectation for us is to learn from our losses on tour, continue to learn and better ourselves so we can go forward into our internationals in the new year and the Six Nations with absolute confidence we can win every game.”