- England Under 20 wing Henry Purdy on the new season
- The motivation is still there and we're ready to go – Purdy
England Under 20s have been back in camp this week and one of last season’s squad members Henry Purdy says that he’s excited about what the new season has in store – and insists that despite the success the team have had, the motivation is still burning bright.
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Henry, how’s it been for you as a second year Under 20 coming back in?
Yeah it’s been great, we’ve got a new group of lads but there are still a few faces from last season so it’s been good to catch up with them, as well as the coaches and management. We know that we’ve got a job to do, the Six Nations may seem a while off but it’ll come around pretty quickly and it’s important to be as prepared as we can.
How do you deal with last season’s success, do you park it, or use it as inspiration?
It’s a bit of both to be honest, as Walshey [Nick Walshey] said when we first met up – this group of players haven’t won anything, we’re a new group and we need to put the hard work in. But at the same time, I’m lucky enough to be able to pull on those experiences and memories from last season and if that can help the squad in any way then that’s great.
Is it good to have the consistency of coaching from Nick Walshe, Ian Peel and Jon Callard when you’re with England?
Definitely. Seeing those familiar faces and knowing their coaching styles and techniques is great. The boys that were involved last year know what they’re like but the whole age grade system seems pretty joined up, so the guys that have come in from the Under 18s and Under 19s will know the coaches and the systems too.
Photo: Getty Images
How are you balancing England U20s and Leicester Tigers this season?
I think it’s just that – a balance. Obviously I’m with Tigers for most of my time and the aim is to work as hard as I can and try and break into that first team. But you can’t underestimate the opportunity of playing for England Under 20s, it’s a privilege. Look at some of the lads from last year’s squad – they’re doing really well in the Premiership and getting that big game experience from the 20s is key.
Last year’s squad were a tight-knit group, can you generate that same level of camaraderie?
Of course. I mean it was a bit strange coming in on that first day and seeing some new faces, I guess it was a bit like a first day at school, but it doesn’t take long to break down the barriers and there’s some good banter flying around already. And to be fair, most of the guys know each other anyway, so it’s all good and we all get along really well.
Finally, what’s driving you this year after winning both competitions last season?
I think it’s that winning feeling – it’s pretty addictive! Once you’ve experienced it, what better motivation is there than to go out and do it again? All of the boys put in a huge effort last season and it’s up to us to go out and do the same, anything less and it won’t feel as good. It’ll be a challenge, but it’s one we’re ready for.