Memorable England bow for James

Norwich's James Crossley is still savouring his England Under-18s debut following a thrilling encounter against Ireland in Dublin.

The 18-year-old certainly played his part in the 23-23 draw at Ashborne RFC, which saw England fight back from 17-0 down at half-time, the highlight of which saw him break Ireland's defensive line to put his team-mate Tom Harty in for a try.

'We were the side who played the real rugby,' said the Wymondham College student and North Walsham prospect.

'Our moves were straight off the training ground and the fact that we came back from 17-0 down on their ground, showed that we were the better side.'

Crossley was elated to achieve the ambition of playing for his country, adding: 'It was a proud day. It has been one of my ambitions to play for England. It's amazing that I've achieved it.'

The past few months have been a whirlwind for the Norfolk boy who has had a lot of attention from various rugby organisations.

'So much has happened so quickly recently. I've had various offers from people,' he said.

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'I never thought that things would develop so much and I'd be playing rugby for England this year.'

Crossley has quickly progressed through the Under-18 system, playing for Norfolk, Eastern Counties, London Division and finally England.

From an early age his talent has been nurtured by the club coaches at Wymondham and, more recently, North Walsham.

He says he feels indebted to his coaches such as Kevin Blakely, Robin Jones, John Self and also Roger Morgan, who coached him from the age of seven.

However, more recently, the intense training that has built Crossley into a strong young athlete has come from the Elite Strength and Conditioning Gym in Britannia Road at Mousehold Heath.

James, added: 'I wouldn't be the rugby player I am today without all the guys at that gym.'