Honey selected in England Counties squad

By David Sillifant in Rugby

CORNISH All Blacks fly-half Fraser Honey admits that ‘the ambition is to become a professional rugby player’ after being selected for the England Counties under 20s squad for their summer tour to the Netherlands.

The 20-year-old playmaker has been one of the leading lights at Polson Bridge over the last few months despite a second consecutive relegation, which means that next season they’ll ply their trade outside of the National Leagues for the first time in nearly 20 years.

Despite breaking his thumb at Salisbury on January 14 which forced him to miss nearly two months of action which included both Cornish All Blacks and Cornwall under 20s fixtures, Honey was put straight into the Cornwall under 20s team for their County Championship defeat against Hampshire at Overton RFC on Sunday, March 19, a result which knocked them out in the group stages.

However, Honey impressed the Cornwall coaching staff and was one of a handful of players selected from the Duchy for the South West trial day at Keynsham RFC on Sunday, April 9.

There, a training day was held before the players were put into two teams for a game, which was split into four 20 minute halves.

A few days later he was advised that he had made the South West team to take part in a three-day England training camp at Long Eaton RFC in Nottingham from Saturday, May 1 to Monday, May 3 where the South West joined the North, the Midlands and London and the South East.

With nearly 100 players to choose from, the coaching staff of Paul Arnold, Richie Williams and Chris Brookes had to whittle the squad down to 25 following two matches played at Nottingham RFC on the Monday, which saw the Midlands square off against London and the South East and Honey’s South West team take on the North.

Honey’s performance, which saw him grab seven points (two conversions and a penalty) meant that he was selected along with the Midlands fly-half Ollie Burgess as one of the two number tens who’ll make the trip, leaving the Holsworthy man lost for words.

Honey said: “When I found out that I had been selected for the England Counties under 20s squad I couldn’t believe it, it’s just a dream come true for me. Everyone dreams of representing their country and I’m no different.”

The tour to Holland takes place from Sunday, June 4 to Friday, June 9 where they’ll play a Test match each against the host nation and Germany.

While most players are looking forward to a few weeks of rest and recuperation after a tough winter, Honey is focused on the upcoming tour before making any decisions on where he’ll play his club rugby come the autumn.

Honey said: “At the moment my future is up in the air when it comes to next season. For the next few weeks I want to focus on representing my country and once that’s done, I can sit down and think about next year and what options there are for me.

“Last summer I spent the pre-season with the Cornish Pirates and did well but I wanted to give something back to the All Blacks as they’ve been good to me but unfortunately we went down.”

After making his debut as an 18-year-old in an extremely physical National League Two during the 2015/16 season, Honey believes that his game has already come on a long way.

Honey continued: “Compared to when I first started playing men’s rugby I feel that I’ve definitely improved physically.

“As an 18-year-old playing in National Two, my body wasn’t really used to being hit by 19 stone men but I feel that this year I’ve been able to give some back thanks to the gym work I’ve put in and just naturally growing all the time.”

As you would expect for a fly-half who has to run the game, Honey doesn’t lack self belief and knows that the England Counties call-up can give him a platform to a much wider audience.

Honey added: “Rugby is it for me. Anyone who knows me knows that all I’ve ever thought about is becoming a professional rugby player. I feel that with the right guidance I have the potential to do it. I’m going to be putting 100% energy into it.

“This tour to Holland is massive. I know that people are going to watching and this call-up is only going to benefit me and open up doors for me. I just need too prove to people that I can do it.”

In other Cornish All Blacks news, the AGM will be held at the club on Monday, May 22 with a 7pm start.

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