Saturday, November 7, 2009

Autumn Internationals rugby star

ALL eyes will be on David Wilson at Westoe Rugby Club today as he runs out for England against the Aussies.

The club is televising the Twickenham clash, which will see the 24-year-old, from South Shields, make only his second Test start.

Wilson came through the junior section at Westoe and returned to realise his dream of playing for the first team as he recovered from injury while at Newcastle Falcons.

Now playing for Bath in the Guinness Premiership, the 6ft 1in prop is tipped for a promising international career.

Westoe chairman and first-team manager Duncan Murray said: "I think it is a fantastic day for everyone at the club.

"Everyone will be watching him. He's a big, strong prop and he's there to represent his country."
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Wilson, who now lives in Gloucestershire, regularly comes back to South Shields to visit his family in Marsden and catch a game at Westoe.

He also takes a keen interest in what is going on at his former school, Harton Technology College, where he honed his rugby skills.

Head of boys' PE and rugby coach Paul Byrne said: "He always had outstanding potential. Realising that potential is the difficult bit.

"Everything he's achieved, he's had to work incredibly hard for.

"The position he plays is unforgiving and demanding – it is probably one of the most physical positions on the pitch.

"To play at the level he's at, you have got to be incredibly committed, fit and have a mental toughness."

Mr Byrne said both he and the school are delighted and proud to see Wilson picked by England manager Martin Johnson – including 100 rugby-playing pupils who look up to him.

"There are an awful lot of people in South Shields who will be rooting for him," he said. "He has such a bright future ahead of him.

Headteacher Ken Gibson added: "David is yet another high-profile success story for Harton Technology College and an inspiration to our current crop of rugby players.

"He is a lovely lad and an incredible talent who fully deserves his continued national recognition."

Wilson played for his school, in Lisle Road, South Shields, and at county level as a youngster, joining the England under-16s at the age of 14.

He was called into the England Saxons side in 2008 and made his full England debut against Argentina at Old Trafford in June, donating his shirt to Mr Byrne afterwards.

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