Rugby: Callum Braley honoured to captain England against France

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First published in Sport

CALLUM BRALEY said it was ‘a massive honour’ to captain England under-20s for the first time against France.

The 19-year-old Bristol scrum half from Coalpit Heath was handed the armband for the opening game of the U20 Six Nations at Stade Leo Lagrange in Draguignan on Friday night despite being one of only two Championship players in the squad.

However, he was unable to lead England to victory with the hosts triumphing 21-15.

“On a personal level it was a massive honour to lead the guys out for the first time and so long as we learn from Friday’s loss then we can take some positives,” said Braley.

“I think frustration probably best sums up the mood in the changing room.

“We know that we can play better but the conditions were tough and we gave it our best shot.”

Braley was part of the England squad that won the IRB Junior World Championship in France last summer and is believed to be a target for Premiership side Gloucester with his Bristol contract expiring at the end of this season.

He has made seven Championship appearances this season with five more in the British and Irish Cup.

Braley previously captained Colston’s school team but said he was shocked to be given the job.

“I was absolutely delighted when I was told,” he told the RFU website.

“It’s not something I’ve ever thought about but I’m fortunate to be in this situation and that I’m surrounded by a lot of experienced players who can help me out. That will make the leadership role a bit easier for me.

“As a nine you have to be quite vocal and lead the way the team plays. I’ll have to change slightly to focus on other things like decisions at penalties and it could take a while to adapt.”

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