Rugby hotshots - October 2005
By Ben Blackmore. Last Updated: 06/10/05 11:01am
Skysports.com and Rugby World magazine, the world's best selling rugby magazine, have teamed up to bring you the future stars of rugby.
Each month we will be introducing two up-and-coming stars.
This month Sarah Mockford introduces us to Anthony Allen and David Young.
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When Andy Robinson announced his 16-strong Senior National Academy squad in August, there were plenty of familiar names - Mathew Tait, Tom Rees and Chris Bell to name a few - but Anthony Allen didn't ring many bells, and no one was more surprised by his inclusion than the centre himself.
Allen only left school a few months ago and hadn't even played for Gloucester when the England coach named that squad.
"I wasn't expecting that," says the 19-year-old. "It came out of the blue."
Those in the know at the RFU clearly expect great things after his impressive performances at U16 and U19 level, not to mention helping his club to their first Middlesex Sevens title, which was "awesome".
But Allen is unlikely to get his head stuck in the clouds above Kingsholm.
"There's no ego about Anthony," says England U19 coach Tosh Askew.
"He's played very well for us. He's not a smash-it-up player, he has lots of skills. His main strength is his strength and his ability to stand up and offload. His defence is first-rate, too."
For now, Allen is hoping to develop his game in the Gloucester A team and maybe push his way onto the first-team bench, but there is plenty of competition.
"There are a lot of good players here. Mike Tindall, Henry Paul and Duncan McRae are obviously keeping me out of the team, but they've been really helpful. Hopefully I can get a few benches.
"It's always good to show you're improving and capable; then if people aren't playing well in the first team and you're playing well week in, week out in the seconds, you should get a chance."
Rugby World Verdict: Robinson expects big things and Allen looks set to deliver on his promise.
Having been born with the name David Young, it was somewhat inevitable that this youngster would find himself perfecting the dark arts of the front row.
While his namesake helped to shore up the Wales' scrum for many years, this David Young is hoping to do the same for Scotland.
Young took up rugby at 13 and has since represented Scotland at U18, U19 and U21 level, but it was last year that he got his big break.
While at the New Zealand Sports Academy, he was spotted by Leicester and invited to a two-week trial.
After impressing the Tigers' coaching staff, he joined the academy last September and was elevated to the senior squad this summer, where he gets to work with international props Graham Rowntree, Julian White and Darren Morris.
"One of the main reasons I came to this club was the props here," explains 20-year-old Young.
"I'm young and I want to learn. Julian White is one of the best, if not the best, scrummaging tightheads in the world and working with him can only help my game."
Young can play on both sides of the scrum, but he prefers wearing the No 3 jersey.
"I find tighthead more of a challenge. You can't rest there; you're always working and I enjoy that."
But with all the front-row quality at Leicester, Young knows it will be hard to break into the first team, so he is looking to strengthen his case.
"This season is about getting in the gym and getting big and strong," he says.
"But I'll keep playing for the development team, which is a great standard, and if I get a chance in the first team I'll do my very best to take it."
Rugby World Verdict: The name and the team-mates mean Young is destined for Test honours.