IVYBRIDGE fly-half Mitch Pinkus believes he has returned a better player from a tour of Georgia with the England Counties Under-20 squad.
The England side finished the 11-day trip unbeaten with a 24-17 victory over Georgia’s Under-20 World Cup side before a 24-22 win over a Georgia development XV.
Pinkus kicked a long-range, last-gasp winning penalty in the final game. He says that moment will live with him forever.
“It wasn’t my easiest kick but it was probably the best kick I have ever done and probably will be for the rest of my career,” said Pinkus.
“It was unbelievable having all the lads run straight to me and accidentally getting head-butted and punched as they celebrated. It was just incredible.
“As a kid I always dreamed of pulling that shirt on and that ending was just magical. I couldn’t have hoped for anything better. It was amazing.”
Pinkus admits getting the chance to experience a professional rugby environment, if only for 11 days, has made him hungrier than ever to try and progress his career.
The 19-year-old, who has had two full seasons playing for Ivybridge at level five, said: “The 11 days went really, really fast, but it was an amazing experience.
“It was a professional environment. We had physios and doctors over there assessing the lads and making sure we were all fit, we’d also have meetings and different things. We’d go out for a morning session then an evening session, but we’d also have recovering and mobility sessions and ice-baths. It literally was like a professional camp. I think that is what they try and prepare you for. I thought it was outstanding.
“And the standard of rugby out there was just amazing. I really couldn’t fault anything about going out there.
“Playing with lads who are in National One and National Two has really helped progress my rugby and has pushed me on to be a better player.”
“You felt the coaches not only wanted to win but they also wanted you to develop as a player. I think they achieved that as I have left a better player than when I went.”
Meanwhile, highly-rated Cornwall winger Will Morton has admitted it was a tough decision for him to leave Saltash.
Morton has been chased by a number of clubs in recent years and has now opted to join South West One hopefuls Launceston, who have been interested in him for a while.
The player admitted it was a big decision, but felt it was time to take the chance to try and push his career to the next level.
He said: “I have had 10 awesome seasons at Saltash with great support so this move wasn’t an easy decision for me to make.
“But I think it’s the best way for me to try and better my game whilst I’m still just about young enough to do so.”