A RISING rugby star has made his first international appearance after helping England Rugby’s Students side beat their French counterparts.

Bicester-born Josiah Edward-Giraud, 20, played the full 80 minutes as England fought back from a 14-8 deficit at half-time to secure a 25-21 victory, marking the side’s first win on French soil in 17 years.

Edward-Giraud, who went to Glory Farm Primary School and The Cooper School, has been playing rugby since the age of five, and was watched on at the Stade André Beaudry by his family, who made the trip to south-west France.

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His mother, Mandy Giraud, told this newspaper: “We all went over to France and it was very special, he’s got his first proper England cap.

“I’m still gobsmacked, I can’t say anything bad about him.

“We were all emotional at the end of the game, I think we all cried.

“He got the full 80 minutes. He didn’t score a try sadly but he had some good carries.

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“It was a big event over there and taken very seriously, and it was a beautiful, sunny day.

“I’m immensely proud of his rugby but also what’s pleased me more than anything is how level he’s stayed throughout this.

“He’s a really likeable kid, makes friends easily and is really laid-back. He’s going from strength to strength with his rugby.”

Edward-Giraud is currently in his second year at Hartpury University, where he is studying a Sports Business Management course.

Before then, he represented the likes of Bicester RUFC and Oxford Harlequins, before spells at the Wasps and Gloucester academies.

Giraud said her son stood out on the pitch at a young age playing for Bicester and Quins.

She said: “He’s got an older brother and they both played rugby and football, but when you get to a certain age you have to make a decision because both are playing at the same time.

“Josiah decided to go with rugby as it was his favourite and he wanted to stick with it.

“He stood out with his coaches and most of them in Oxfordshire knew of him.

“They always used to say if we could leave him at home rather than having to play against him.

“I think if you asked his coaches from the age of six and seven, they’d say he had that extra thing about him then.”

In the here and now, Giraud is optimistic of a bright future for her son.

She said: “There are clubs interested in him and more opportunities are coming his way for the future.

“Knowing people and being close to the right people is a big thing, and the aim is just to play rugby.”

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About the author

To sign up to Liam’s latest Oxford United newsletter for free, click here: https://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/newsletters/

Formerly the politics reporter for the Oxford Mail, Liam now covers all things Oxford United.

Liam attends the U’s home and away, as well as covering other big sports stories across the county.

His Oxford United newsletter is released every Saturday morning at 6am.