Rob Branton all smiles after securing a spot with the England University National Team!
As an alternative pathway, the England University RL Squad plays a hugely important role in offering some of the most talented Rugby League Players in England the opportunity to play on an international stage.
Yesterday England Universities selected their 2019, 26-man squad which will take part in the RFL President's Cup competition and two friendly fixtures before the squad is cut to 20 for the Student Rugby League Four Nations in June.
England Universities Coach Richard Tate tweeted “ Well done to everyone selected for this years England Uni’s Programme! I’m really looking forward to working with this year’s group of elite players and the staff “
I caught up Rob Branton, 19 from Hull. Having played for City of Hull Academy, Rob Branton has all the physical attributes of a young elite rugby player. However, whilst most Academy graduates at COHA sign for Hull FC or Hull KR, at the end of his 3 year contract at City of Hull, Rob decided to further his academic studies at Loughborough University, which is currently number 1 in the UK in regards to sports facilities and sporting academics.
Yesterday Rob Branton was named as part of the 26 -man England University squad, here’s what Rob had to say to GRM SPORT.
Where did your playing career start?
“ I started off at Cottingham Tigers with my first coach Rob D’arcy and got scouted onto the Hull FC programme at under 16’s where I spent 2 years. City of Hull Academy was then formed of Hull FC and Hull KR Academy players when I entered my final year at U19 level.
How would you describe your time at CoHA?
“ It was great to be part of a professional setup for 3 years, improving as a player and a professional. It taught me several lessons regarding work ethic and attitude, as well as being with a good group of lads everyday which was enjoyable. Therefore overall it was a positive experience.
Why did you choose the University pathway over signing for a professional club?
“ I chose to go to university as I felt the opportunity at Loughborough was better than the one offered with rugby in Hull. I also had to think about life regarding getting a good job and Loughborough was the perfect place in my mind to go to.
Congrats on getting picked up by England Uni, what is your reaction to getting selected?
“ I’m buzzing to be selected, I’m really exited to get started and fight for a spot on the squad for the 4 nations squad. Playing for England Uni’s was a big goal of mine when choosing to join Loughborough as a student, so I am very happy to have achieved it. It also means I can link up with old friends like Tom Jubb from COHA which makes it better!
What is your long-term goal?
“ My long term goal is obviously to finish University with a good degree, which is my main priority, but in regards to Rugby; I want to continue to improve and aim to make the England team each year. Then if any other opportunities arise during or after uni I will definitely look to continue playing rugby league at a high standard.
Once again, well done on your inclusion in the England set up! We wish you all the best!
Written by Shawn Boatin