IT WILL be a proud day for Ivybridge Rugby Club on Saturday when former junior Henry Slade runs out at Twickenham for England against France.
Slade will be winning his first full international cap as England head coach Stuart Lancaster tries to finalise his final 31 players for this year’s World Cup.
The 22-year-old Exeter Chiefs utility back, who spent two seasons playing for Plymouth Albion in the Championship, becomes the first former Ivybridge player to go all the way and earn full England honours.
It comes the year the newly-promoted National Three South West side celebrate their 40th anniversary.
“We’ve had players play for Russia, Malta, England B, a lot of England Under-20 and Under-18 internationals but Henry will be the first to play England,” said Ivybridge team manager Neil Thomson.
“It is a brilliant and had Dave Ewers not been injured then he might have also played. They both came through our junior and colts teams.
“And despite what they have achieved they still have so much respect for the club and when you speak to them they will say they remember things they were taught at 13 or 14.
“Henry was up at the club recently practicing his kicking with Cameron Setter, who is at Albion, and Ryan Fricker, who is trying to make a name for himself as a golfer in America.
“With Cameron getting picked to captain Albion and Henry playing for England we are all very proud at the club.”
Former Plymouth College pupil Slade, who will start at outside centre against France, admits he is still pinching himself that he is about to fulfil his dream and play for England.
“I’m just so excited,” said Slade.
“It’s something I have been looking forward to for so long now that for it to becoming true is a little bit weird. I do find I’m pinching myself.”
Slade, who can play fly-half, 12, 13 and even full-back, has been honing his kicking game this week alongside his hero and England legend Jonny Wilkinson at England’s training camp in Surrey.
“Jonny comes here every now and again. The other day he was in and we were doing some kicking, giving us pointers. He’s still got it,” said Slade, who becomes the first former Plymouth College pupil since Paul Ackford to play for England.
Another former Albion player, Luke Cowan-Dickie, could also make his England debut this weekend after been named on the replacements’ bench for the match against France.