Warriors Academy star student Andy Short is ready for the ultimate test when he comes face to face with South Africa - and admits he has been watching the British & Irish Lions tour to swot up on what he can expect on his trip into the unknown.
Short - a product of the AASE scheme at Sixways Stadium - is set to be part of the England Under 18s side that travels to South Africa in July and August for a Development Tour.
National Academy Coaches John Fletcher and Peter Walton have named a squad of 26 players and Short has been given the nod to continue his rugby education.
"I'm over the moon to get the call. It will be a great experience for me to go over to South Africa on what I'm sure will be a very demanding tour," said Short.
"I have watched the British & Irish Lions on the television and that gives you a little taste of how much of a strong rugby country it is we are going to. It's a shame we haven't gone early as I would have liked to have seen a Test too.
"To go and play in South Africa is one of the hardest things you can do in rugby. I have never faced a Southern Hemisphere side and it's great to also tour and see another part of the world."
Short was part of the England Under 18 side that completed a clean sweep of wins in this season's Five Nations Festival and picked p the scalps of Scotland twice, Japan High Schools, Italy and Wales.
The team will now play against Western Province on August 1, Boland on August 4 and South Africa Schools on August 8.
"We go into the tour on the back of a really successful Five Nations Festival where we stayed unbeaten when no team came close to beating us," added Short.
"But we all know South Africa will be another step up. We will have to be at our very best to get some results. However, we are a close knit group and the squad that is going is almost identical to the one that was involved this summer.
"In terms of my own progress, I have now finished the AASE scheme and I'm now with Warriors full-time and really enjoying every second.
"It's tough at the moment as we really work on fitness and strength, but I'm enjoying concentrating on my rugby.
"The AASE scheme was a great learning curve for me and the balance was really good between the academic work and your rugby. Your work fitted around the rugby really well - even if some 7am starts are a bit tough.
"Now I'm just looking forward to testing myself in the Warriors Academy and going to South Africa to challenge the very best at my age.
Warriors Academy Assistant Manager Gary Meechan said the club was delighted with the latest international call-up.
"Andy's selection is a welcome one but not unexpected. He has worked very hard over the last couple of years within the AASE scheme and he has repaid the potential we saw in him," he said.
"He's a member of the full-time Academy and now he has new goals and aspirations, it's onward and upward for him."
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