Underhill: ‘I want to play for England’

Date published: May 2 2016

Ospreys flanker Sam Underhill has silenced any doubts about his international allegiance by reaffirming that he wants to play for England.

The 19-year-old former Gloucester back-row has caught the eye this season with his performances in the PRO12 and Champions Cup, doing enough to be touted as a possible member of England's touring squad to Australia in June.

Underhill could also have qualified to play for Wales through residency but insists that his ambitions haven't changed despite playing in Swansea. 

"As the boys constantly ribbing me for it in training would testify, I am definitely English," Underhill told the Sunday Times.

"I have grown up in England. Apart from this season, I have only ever played rugby in England. Without being in any way arrogant or ahead of myself, internationally my ambitions are to play for England.

"It's an emotional link. You grow up as kids, see guys wearing the rose and think that's what you want to do when you are older."

Underhill's time with the Ospreys is tied with his studies at Cardiff University, and he intends to honour the two remaining years left on his contract.

"I fully intend to fulfil my three-year contract with the Ospreys. I don't see any reason not to. It's not so much a three-year contract as a three-year university course and I don't see any reason to leave," he added.

"I am really enjoying my rugby. I am especially grateful to the coaches for giving me the opportunity. So I want to be as loyal to the club as I can be and pay them back for the faith they've had in me.

"Qualifying for Wales hasn't crossed my mind. My loyalty is here, to the Ospreys. The club has been fantastic to me. I have loved, am loving, my time here. Anyway, Wales already have an embarrassment of riches in the back row."