England’s sevens development programme, created in 2015, has been a roaring success, with many of the current squad for the HSBC World Series coming through the England Sevens Academy Talent Identification Camp.
The 2019 instalment of this could introduce a possible star into the set-up, in the form of Coventry College student Jamal Gask-Clarke.
The 17-year-old has already impressed coaches after studying at the college, which is the official partner of the Wasps Academy. Gask-Clarke will be hoping that this two-day trial is just the beginning for him.
Speaking to the Coventry Telegraph, he said: “This is an excellent opportunity for me to test myself alongside some of the best young players in the country and move a step closer towards becoming a professional rugby player.
“The education programme has opened up so many doors for me, from training with the Wasps Junior Academy Squad to taking part in international and 7s tournaments and working in a high-performance environment on a day to day basis.
Wasps Academy Education North Squad 30 Hartpury College 19 try scorers Tom Keay, Jamal Gask-Clarke, Kieran Moore & Sean O’Sullivan kicks took an outstanding win at Coventry College Henley Campus Fields in the AoC Sport Premier League fixture #OneSquad#Journey pic.twitter.com/0WIv8QivDq
— Coventry College Rugby Academy (@CovCollegeWasps) November 10, 2017
“This is another chance to develop my skills, and I am proud to have the support of the college & academy behind me in doing this.”
Gask-Clarke will spend two days at the Lensbury Club being put through his paces by the England Sevens Academy coaches. The initiative aims to develop players so they can reach their full potential, and also open doors to gain professional contracts with the sevens set up.
The majority of the England Sevens academy are on full-time contracts and train alongside the senior team. This could put Gask-Clarke into contention to play on the international stage in the HSBC World Series.
Pete Glackin, Head of Rugby at Coventry College, said: “Jamal is a real success story for our Education Programme and this is another positive step forward for him.
“He has a fantastic attitude towards working hard on his game, he has developed his technical & tactical skills and understanding of the game, and we feel he’s going to have a great future in the sport.
“We have created a solid team culture here at the college, and everyone is backing Jamal to do well.”
Main photo: Jamal Gask-Clarke (left). Credit: Facebook