Henry Purdy said it was a pretty special feeling to reach a second successive IRB Junior World Championship final with England Under 20s.
Purdy, from Milton-under-Wychwood, came off the bench as England defeated Ireland 42-15 in their semi-final at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand.
Now the 20-year-old centre/wing, who has joined Gloucester from Leicester Tigers, is hoping to play his part in Friday’s final against South Africa at Eden Park (8.35am).
“It’s a pretty special feeling to make it through to the final – the boys played exceptionally well in that first half against Ireland and I was pleased to come on in the second 40,” said Purdy.
“We’re a tight group and I think that our performances have reflected that.
“South Africa will be a real test for us, but one we’re looking forward to, we can’t wait to get out there.”
Former Cokethorpe School pupil Purdy was part of the England squad that beat Wales 23-15 in the 2013 final.
He spent part of last season on loan from Leicester to Nottingham, including an appearance against Oxford-based London Welsh.
JOSH McNally, who works at RAF Brize Norton, has sealed a dream move to Aviva Premiership side London Welsh.
The 23-year-old lock, who is a weapons technician, joins the Premiership club from Henley Hawks.
“I don’t see any reason why I can’t play at that level,” he said. “It is a bit intimidating going there, but I feel I can take it in my stride.”
McNally added: “I have never played full-time rugby before.
“Twelve months ago, if someone had told me I would be signing for a Premiership club, I would have told them to wind it down a bit.
“I am over the moon.”
YOUNG Guns, a team comprised of Witney RFC players, won the club’s inaugural sevens tournament.
They beat Maidenhead in the final, after seeing off Marlow, Wheatley and Welsh side Saundersfoot.
Captain Tom Foggett lifted the Dave Lambourne Trophy for player of the tournament.