A Hull FC Sports College student has explained his shock at being included in the Yorkshire Academy squad.
16-year-old Will Hutchinson, who represents the Black & Whites’ Academy team, will join up with the Yorkshire Academy squad next week as they prepare to face Lancashire Academy in the first match of the War of the Roses series at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle on Friday 28th April.
Head of England Talent Pathways Paul Anderson has selected both the Yorkshire and Lancashire Academy squads for the first match of the series, and Hutchinson has explained the feeling of receiving a call from the former international forward.
“I was just shocked when I got the phone call. I didn’t exactly expect to get a call-up given the pathway I have been on over the last couple of years,” he said.
“There wasn’t too much to the conversation – it was basically me telling him how shocked I was! I’m absolutely buzzing.
“I’ve had to put extra hard work in to get this opportunity. The fact that I didn’t have a full-time Academy contract in the first place and now I’ve been called up to Yorkshire. It’s all happened so quickly, but I feel like my development is going really well.”
Hutchinson joined forces with the Black & Whites ahead of the 2022 Scholarship campaign, making his debut off the bench in a narrow victory over arch rivals Hull KR.
Although the hooker wasn’t offered a full-time Academy contract as his time with the Scholarship came to an end, Hutchinson knuckled down with the club’s development team as part of the Sports College at the Centre of Excellence.
Able to prove himself in the development team on a Wednesday afternoon, whilst also impressing in training, Hutchinson was eventually rewarded with a full-time Academy contract, and he is thankful for the opportunity the Sports College has given him.
“I do think the college programme has given me a great shot at rugby because it gives you the chance to do so much extra training,” he said.
“Some of the other lads in the Academy have apprenticeships, so they’re missing out on some of the stuff that us guys at the college have the luxury of like gym sessions or a skill drill.
“Especially in pre-season, we got to do a lot of extra fitness with Kieran Smith (Strength & Conditioning Coach). My fitness was quite poor during the off-season, so I definitely feel like being at the college has played a massive part in helping my development.”
The teenager was given his first taste of Reserve grade rugby when he was named on the interchange bench to face Leeds Rhinos Reserves at Headingley last Friday.
Although the match ended in defeat for a young Black & Whites outfit, it was a big development opportunity for Hutchinson.
“It was a great experience to travel over with some of the older lads that are involved in the first-team group,” he said.
“Obviously it was really good to go up against some Super League players. It was tough, but I feel like I held my own and gave it a good go, so I was pretty happy with what I got out of it.
“I think it was my defence that benefitted most from the hit out. Just trying different techniques and setting goals for winning rucks against bigger players – it was good to build my confidence.”
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