Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 13.35.09ENGLAND rugby coaches have taken a first look at the talents of a schoolboy player after he successfully completed rigorous regional trials.

Barnard Castle School student Max Pepper was invited to take part in a two-day Northern Academy Development camp in front of U18s England coach John Fletcher.

The 15-year-old, of Eggleston, Teesdale, is also a member of the Newcastle Falcons Academy and joined young players from Sale Sharks and Yorkshire Carnegie.

Max has been a regular player in rugby festivals involving the Falcons, Leicester, Northampton, Worcester, Sale and Yorkshire Carnegie.

He also played in county matches against Northumberland and Cumbria and was a year- young in an U16 academy festival staged at Wellington School in Berkshire.

Barnard Castle School’s master in charge of rugby Luke Monument said: “Max is playing at the very highest possible standard for his age and this was a great opportunity to impress the England U18 coach.

“He is comfortable playing at scrum half, centre or fly half and his game is instinctive, intelligent, with great distribution skills. It is fantastic to see him already involved with the U16s. He shows great maturity and is the perfect example of how talent can be nurtured through the sport’s development player pathway.”

Max said: “I have been playing for as long as I can remember and love the sport. It is my dream to secure a contract with a club like the Falcons and to play scrum half for England one day.

“It was an amazing experience being part of the Northern Academy Development camp as the standards were so high that it brought the very best out of my game.”