England youth star ready to help reverse Sudbury RFC’s fortunes

Gabriel Carroll, Sudbury and England under 18's. mbfp-06-05-12 RA-221
Gabriel Carroll, Sudbury and England under 18's. mbfp-06-05-12 RA-221

ENGLAND youth flanker Gabriel Carroll has declared himself available to help kick-start Sudbury Rugby Club’s new season in style.

The 17-year-old St Joseph’s Colleges pupil has been unable to make an appearance for the struggling first team in 2011/12 due to a highly successful school and international season – reaching the semi-final of the Daily Mail Cup and making his mark with the under-18s England Club and Schools side.

But ahead of going out to Auckland, New Zealand, at the turn of the year to further his rugby education, Carroll is keen to get playing again at Whittome Field and get Sudbury firing once more.

The Boxford resident was a surprise inclusion in the Colchester Sevens side taking part in the Bury St Edmunds ULR Premier International Sevens Open Competition on Sunday, having only turned up to watch.

And he hopes he does not get too many dirty looks when he returns to pre-season training for Scott Harries and Lee Cooper’s side.

“Sudbury have been brilliant to me,” he said. “Scott Harries and Lee Cooper are keen to get me back on board for this season (starting in September) and I am happy to play for them again.

“Pulling on a Colchester shirt at the ULR 7s has been a bit strange, considering they are a rival team. I was just coming to watch and when I go back to Sudbury I might get a few dodgy looks!”

After aspiring to promotion to join Bury St Edmunds and Colchester in London One North in 2010/11, Sudbury were relegated to London Three North East last term and then only just survived a second relegation, finishing ninth (out of 12), one place above the drop zone.

“Some players they have got in the team are genuinely good players so if a couple more boys come in it could really turn next season around,” said Carroll, who made his debut for England Under-18s last month in a 38-10 win over Ireland at Merchant Taylor’s School in Middlesex on April 14.

Of the game, where he came on as a 46th-minute substitute, involving players not affiliated to professional clubs, he said: “The ground, the national athems beforehand, the flags and mascots taking us out on to the pitch was a pretty incredible experience, especially being able to do that in England with my friends and family there.”

Carroll, who is sitting three A-levels next month, now hopes the decision to defer a place at Loughborough University to play in New Zealand can help reignite his aspirations to turn professional in the sport.