Playing for England

sam-olverSam Olver is preparing for a potentially huge year as an England rugby union hopeful. He is playing for the England U20s and is looking to break into the Northampton Saints 1st team.

Sam began his career with the Stamford Rugby Football Club at the age of four. He attended Oundle School and played under the ex-England international John Olver, who is head coach at Oundle, and also his father. Sam said his father had “a massive influence growing up, whether it was taking me to club rugby around the country or actually coaching me at school.”

After Sam’s final year at Oundle his career progressed rapidly. Just two months after leaving Oundle he featured in a 1st team Northampton Saints friendly match against Edinburgh. After coming off the bench to kick a conversion, he gained his first points for the 1st team. Sam said “it was an awesome experience playing with the 1st team” as he played alongside the likes of Lion George North and England international and club captain Dylan Hartley. “You learn a lot from those sorts of games, being exposed to that level.”

Despite being behind England international Stephen Myler and Australian James Wilson for the fly half position, Sam has a chance in playing a part in Northampton’s campaign this season, as they look to fight on multiple fronts. Sam said “I am pretty pleased with the position I am in at the moment, so if I keep working hard and playing well then an opportunity might come in the near future, I hope to get some LV cup games this year but we will have to see what happens.”

After accumulating 55 points for England U18s, including a match against South Africa this summer, Sam has now made the transition to the U21s where he hopes to make as much as an impact as he did for the U18s. Sam will look to play an integral part in the six nations next year.

“The team’s aim is to perform well, and if we do that in every game, we should be in with a shout of winning the grand slam”.

Sam is already looking forward to the Junior World Championship in New Zealand in 2014. After three runners-up performances in the competition, the U20s won the final last year and the current side have similar aspirations

This could be a break-through year for the young fly half.

By Toby Warner