RISING star Austin Beckett has revealed how a pep talk by England World Cup winner Jason Robinson inspired him to make the most of his Sevens appearance at the home of English rugby.
Sudbury Rugby Club youngster Beckett certainly impressed as he went on to score the winning try for St Joseph’s College Under-16s at Twickenham in the curtain raiser to the final round of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
The Northampton Saints developmental squad player, who recently found out he will be kept on at the Premiership giants next season, even mimicked England’s Chris Ashton’s cheeky swallow dive in the special game against Bedford Modern on May 12.
“We had a team talk with Jason Robinson just before the match and he was saying how great an honour it is to play on the pitch,” said Beckett of the grassroots showcase game, a replay of the colts final at the 2012 Rosslyn Park HSBC National Schools Sevens which Ipswich-based St Jo’s won. “He said a lot of professionals have not even played on it before and we are stepping out on it at 15 and 16 and how privileged we were – it was surreal.”
He said the experience of playing in the game, in front of Robinson, England Sevens coach Ben Ryan, New Zealand Sevens coach Gordon Tietjens and England Sevens star Christian Lewis-Pratt is one he will never forget.
“It was good,” said Beckett, who has revealed he was diagnosed with diabetes at 12 years old but is determined not to let it hold him back.
“I never usually dive when I score and I just did it because I felt like it!
“I ran around the outside and beat everyone with pace, which is the strongest part of my game.”
Meanwhile, Sudbury winger Matt Johnston made his debut for Eastern Counties at Cambridge on Saturday and was involved in the move that put the home side 31-27 ahead 10 minutes from time in the Bill Beaumont Cup against Durham – eventually losing 32-31.
A last-minute try from Paul Vinnicombe saw the visitors finish top of the three-team division, and left Counties, who lost narrowly to Warwickshire seven days earlier, pondering what might have been.
Johnston’s brief moment of glory came when he burst through a couple of tackles and managed a fine offload to put Harry Robbins (Cambridge) clear to score under the posts and put Counties ahead for the first time in the game.
Other tries for Counties came from Jason Billows (Shelford) and skipper Toby Berridge (unattached).
Counties were awarded a penalty try in the 60th minute. Adam White (Cambridge) converted all four and kicked a penalty.
Durham also scored four tries through Frazer Wilson, Robert Bell, and Vinnicombe.
Andrew Baggett converted the first three and landed two penalties.