Playing for your adopted nation against the country of your birth can bring conflicting emotions, but not for rugby ace Rory Brand.
Brand was born in Glasgow but is part of the England squad which has notched three wins from three in this year’s Under-20 Six Nations.
Jon Callard’s side have swept aside France, Italy and Wales to top the table, with Ireland matching them with a 100 per cent record as well.
England face the Men in Green in a final-day showdown on St Patrick’s Day, but must first negotiate a tough clash against the Scots in front of the Sky Sports cameras on Saturday.
Scrum-half Brand, who studied at Wigan’s Standish Community High School and now benefits from being part of the SSE Next Generation programme, admitted the chance to face his home nation would be unique, but one he would grasp with relish should it come his way.
And even if he does not get on the pitch, he is anticipating a fierce battle between the two sides.
“It would certainly be a great honour to play against my home country,” 18-year-old Brand said. “It would be a strange feeling but one that doesn’t come around every day.
“Hopefully I can get that opportunity and take it with both hands.
“It will certainly be tough – one thing we always know when we play Scotland is that they’ll come at us early on, so we need to physically dominate them in the set piece.”
And Brand says his England team-mates have an excellent bond on and off the pitch, something he believes is key for them to put together a successful Six Nations campaign.
“It’s a very talented bunch,” added Brand. “There’s a good balance of flair and the ability to play the game well, we know when to switch on and off.
“During training we’re always working hard, and we’re having conversations about it, but after we can relax.
“We all get on really well too, which is a bonus. We’ve got a tight-knit squad.
“It’s all about bonding and forming relationships on and off the field, so when we come onto it, we know what each other want and how each other like to be spoken to.
“We’re just hoping to put a performance on, put a big show for everyone about how good we are and how good we can be. We know what we need to do to win and hopefully lift that Six Nations title.”
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