Rugby hotshot Rory Brand believes a loan spell at Rosslyn Park is doing wonders for his game, increasing the chances of a professional debut for London Irish later this season.
The 18-year-old was promoted to London Irish’s senior academy last summer after joining from Sale Sharks, and he was immediately sent out on loan to National League Division One side Rosslyn Park for experience.
So far the scrum-half has impressed, helping the London-side to seventh in the table so far with six wins from 13 matches.
And Brand, whose family moved to Wigan from Scottish Borders town Galashiels in 2012 in order to help his career, says he is loving life at the club.
“It has been going really well since I signed. I am trying to nail down the first team spot at Rosslyn Park and that has been great for me to adjust to the physicality of the game,” said Brand, who is a part of the SSE Next Generation programme.
“Two weeks ago I got a great try against Esher on a Friday night in front of a big crowd. I am there for the season now and it is important for me to have that regularity.
“I have settled in well. It is tough, especially physically – I am always a bit sore the morning after which I am not used to.
“I am now able to focus solely on rugby, although I do a little bit of educational stuff outside of it. Everything is aimed towards being a professional rugby player.
“So many players have come through the club so it is good to know I am in the right environment.”
London Irish, who were relegated from the Premiership last season, are also in the midst of a fine campaign – winning all ten of their league games so far.
And Brand hopes to see a slice of the action this season, with a potential debut in The British & Irish Cup in the pipeline.
The former Wellington College pupil has enrolled at Birkbeck, University of London to study law, as he prepares for life outside of the game but admits it is tough juggling sport and education.
“The guys at London Irish seem really pleased with how it is going. I want to be involved there as soon as I can,” he said.
“Hopefully I can get involved in The British & Irish Cup rounds. It is my dream to play professional rugby so I just can’t wait to put on the green jersey.
“It has been really hard to combine rugby with education. I am struggling to keep up with the work but the club and the university have been very good and I am working very hard to get it all done.
“It is hard to prioritise but I certainly want to get my future sorted after rugby.”
SSE’s Next Generation programme partners with SportsAid to provide financial support and training to the sports stars of the future. Keep up to date with the latest @SSENextGen.