|Squad||England Under 20|
Now entering his third season as England Under 20 head coach, Rob Hunter is looking for an unprecedented third successive Six Nations triumph after winning the tournament in 2011 and 2012.
The class of 2011 won in style, with a Grand Slam and a record points haul. That side also performed nobly in the IRB Junior World Championship final in Italy when they lost 33-22 to New Zealand.
The 2012 crop went on to the claim the U20 Six Nations title conceding a record low of 40 points along the way.
The past 12 months has seen graduation from the programme accelerate with the likes of Joe Marler, Joe Launchbury and Owen Farrell becoming regular England starters, with Mako and Billy Vunipola, George Ford, Matt Kvesic and Elliot Daly pushing hard for inclusion.
For someone who climbs and mountaineers, Rob's love of meeting a challenge is hardly surprising; in 2005 trekking to Everest base camp before continuing to Africa and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for charity Show Racism The Red Card. He followed in 2007 by cycling across Vietnam and Cambodia with long term friend and mentor John Steele in aid of the Get Ahead cancer charity.
A multi-faceted Northumbrian, Rob is an RFU Level 4 coach, played at lock and in the back row for London Scottish (1993-1999) and for Northampton Saints until 2004, also representing the Army and Combined Services.
Rob said: “I first played rugby at the age of 19 for my regiment in Germany. They were missing a few players and I borrowed some boots. It was a bit of a late start! I served with the Royal Engineers from 1989 to 2006.”
His mentors include Alan Zondach, Wayne Smith and David Nucifora. He continued: “Alan made a big impression on me at London Scottish and Wayne similarly at Northampton. When I started coaching David had a huge impact despite spending only a short time with him on course in New Zealand.
“I was lucky to have five years from 2004 as Academy Director at Northampton. It was a great academy coaching group to work in and it's great to see guys like Dylan [Hartley] and Courtney [Lawes] continuing to represent club and country.
"The 2008-09 A league winning team was a lot of fun and the players really bought into the competition. It's great to see guys from that team succeeding; be it Chris Ashton for England, John Brake in the 7's or Alan Dickens and Mark Hopley successfully moving into coaching.
“As a player, I was lucky enough to be on the field with and against many fantastic players. I always enjoyed looking around and seeing iconic people in my own and opposing teams – especially those who typified their individual clubs and cultures.”
Rob, educated at Dr Thomlinson School in Rothbury, Northumberland and King Edward VI, Morpeth, has travelled a long way and not only in geographical terms.