- England Under 18 centre Nick Carpenter wants AASE semi-final
- We’re confident we can beat anybody, anywhere – Carpenter
Photo: Tania Richards
England Under 18 centre Nick Carpenter is hoping that his SGS Filton College team can shift their tag of 'nearly-men' as the AASE League reaches crunch time this month.
SGS Filton currently sit top of the South Division with two games remaining and Carpenter is hoping to avenge last season’s final round heartbreak when a late London Irish try denied the Bristol-based College a semi-final spot.
"To go out in those circumstances was devastating, we got so close but our performance on the day wasn’t quite good enough. It was a tough lesson but we’ve come back stronger and we’re hungry to put it right." He said.
SGS Filton face Ivybridge on January 23 and a win would secure the Bristol Rugby apprentices a place in the semi-finals. But Carpenter, who represented England Under 18 at last season’s FIRA/AER European Championship in Madrid, knows the importance of winning the group.
“If we win both games we will finish top of the group and have a home semi-final," he said. "We’re confident we can beat anybody, anywhere, but our home form has been really good and we’d be especially confident on our own patch,” he said.
The prospect of a Twickenham final is the perfect motivation for Carpenter and his team mates, but the 18-year-old, who celebrated his birthday on Christmas day, refuses to look any further than Ivybridge.
Photo: Tania Richards
"Playing at Twickenham would be an amazing experience and a great way to finish college. But we can’t look that far ahead, there’s plenty of work to be done before we can start thinking about that and a lot of quality sides left in the competition. It’s such a great competition to play in."
On a personal note, Nick is hoping to play himself into John Fletcher's final England Under 18 squad for the coming season and summer tour, as well as working hard to earn an academy contract at Bristol Rugby.
"Playing for England last season was a great experience," he said. "But that doesn’t guarantee anybody their place this season. There are some fantastic players in the training squad and I will have to work hard to get into this season’s squad.
"I’m too old to play at FIRA again this season, but I’m hoping to play my way into the squad for the fixtures that I’m eligible for."