Agyei and Perkins take old school rivalry to new level
- Credit: Archant
Campion and Coopers old boys train with national sides
Coopers Coborn and Campion Schools have always had a friendly rivalry, but it could rise to new heights after alumni of both were called up for international rugby duty.
George Perkins, who attended Coopers, will be hoping to be part of another successful England under-20 squad in the Six Nations having won the title last year.
But he could be joined in the competition by Campion old boy Michael Agyei, who has spent this week training with the Scotland under-20.
The squad comprises of players who were brought up outside of Scotland, but had either a parent of grandparent born in the country.
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Agyei qualifies through his grandfather and the 19-year-old says he is fully determined to make the most of his opportunity and show he is capable of making the step up to international level.
“It’s obviously a great honour and one I plan to put a lot of effort into. It’s my first time training at this level,” he said.
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“(Scotland Exiles head coach) Rob Brierly told me last week there was a chance to get up to a session in Scotland and see how things go from there. He wanted to move fast with the approaching Six Nations.
“I just went about training how I normally do and I got my chance — I’m in a special place right now.”
Agyei first took up the sport when he was in year nine at Campion after seeing his brother Eric enjoy rugby.
He played through various years at the school, but his career took off once he reached the sixth form age group.
In his final year Agyei, who is now part of the academy at Championship side Nottingham, helped the team reach the last 16 of the National Cup for the first time in over a decade.
And the winger attributes both the team’s success and his own subsequent development to the excellent coaching he received.
“Chris Jones, Mike McDarby and Phil Friel really developed my skills further,” he added.
“For them it’s about trying to get the best out of every individual every time. They tried to create a professional environment around us.”
England and Scotland are due to meet in the first game of this year’s under-20 Six Nations, but that may come too soon for Agyei to face Perkins.
But if the two continue on the same trajectory, it will surely only be a matter of time before they do face one another at international level.
It would not be the first time the pair have lined up against each other, as Agyei revealed they were also previously team-mates at Upminster and Mavericks.
“George is obviously a great player. We were rivals at Campion and Coopers as well as in lower school when he played for New Hall, even in athletics when we both did triple jump!
“Yet a lot of people don’t realise we were actually team-mates as well. He’s been involved with Saracens and England for a while and he’s developed, but a lot of us have come on heaps from school days. We’ve kept in contact a bit with me being at Nottingham and him on loan to Bedford Blues.
“It will be good to get on the field against him again, but for now it’s about taking each session as it comes.”
If Agyei impresses the coaches during his training with the under-20s, he may get his wish to come up against Perkins sooner rather than later.