Two products of Cramlington Rockets’ youth system have been selected to represent their country.
Matty Gordon and Jack Tait have been included in the England Lionheart’s squad of 20 to tour Italy from June 14 to 21, playing against Italy’s Under 18 rugby league side.
Both players will begin their preparation by travelling to Wigan St Patrick this month for training.
Having joined the club in 2013 and currently a member of Cramlington Rugby League Academy, 17-year-old Matty made his name as a free scoring half back in last season’s Rockets U16s as they won back-to-back league championships.
“I am honoured to have been selected to represent my country,” he said, “and I am looking forward to playing alongside a talented squad of players.
“To have my clubmate, Jack in the side too makes it extra special and I am really grateful to my coaches, Jordan Robinson, Steve Beaty and Danny Gilroy for helping me get this far.”
Playing alongside him for the Rockets in the 2014 championship side was back rower Jack Tait, whose performances through the year saw him win the 2014 Players’ Player of the Year award at the Rockets and is currently a student at Whitley Bay High School.
“I am ecstatic for both the lads, they more than deserve the opportunity,” said their coach, Jordan Robinson.
“As well as being very talented players, they have excellent attitudes and will thrive from being in such a high profile environment.
“Having two lads in the squad is also a good endorsement of the work going on in the north east, which is certainly attracting more attention from those in the heartlands.
“At the Rockets, we work hard to give our players the best opportunities possible but it is also down to them to put in the hard work.
“That is both these lads to a tee and everyone at the club wishes them all the best for the tour and beyond.”
With the tour costing £500 per player, the club will be holding some fundraising events towards the cost of the trip for the players and would welcome any assistance from its members.
You can make a donation to their trip on the club’s GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/RocketsLionhearts or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org