Young Wigan Warriors prospect Sam Powell is relishing the opportunity to play against some of the best young Rugby League players in the world when he takes to the field to represent the England Academy against the Australian Schoolboys at Leigh Sports Village (changed from Barrow due to the weather), on Saturday December 4. (K.O 2:00pm). (Sam is pictured second from the left with Jack, Greg and Danny.)
Powell is one of six Warriors academy players, including Danny Bridge, Greg Burke, Ryan King, Matthew Russell and Jack Hughes, involved with the England Academy set-up and while he knows the Schoolboys will pose a tough challenge coming off the back of victories against Wales U18's and the England Community Lions, Powell is in dreamland following his call up to the side.
"It's a great honour to be involved with the England Academy," said Powell. "This is what you hope for when you're playing through the season and it was a bit of a shock really when I got the notice.
"I got the letter through from the coaching staff and I couldn't believe it when I read it, it's just a privilege to be selected for your country.
"I can't wait to get the opportunity now to play the Aussies side. I know it's going to be a tough game which is what you'd expect from an Australian side, but we've just got to go out there and give it our best shot and hopefully we can come away with the result.
"There are some really good players with plenty of talent in our squad and I think we have what it takes to beat them"
England captain Jamie Peacock was in attendance at an Academy training session during the week to give his advice and support to the youngsters and the significance of having such an experienced player in camp hasn't been lost on Powell.
"Having someone like Jamie Peacock come in to training and give us advice can only be a confidence boost," he said. "When someone like that gives you tips, you've got to listen as he's got so much experience.
"I just can't wait to get out there and represent England now."
Tickets for both England Academy v Australian Schoolboy games on Saturday, December 4 (Barrow. K.O 2:00pm) and Friday, December 10 (Castleford. K.O 7:30pm) can be purchased on the day and cost £3 adult and £2 concession (Under 16, Students and Over 65)