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Rugby legend issues Bath challenge to Lewisham kid
3:54pm Wednesday 1st August 2012 in Sport
By Jack Zorab
WORLD Cup winner Danny Grewcock has laid down the challenge to Lewisham’s Tom Chapman to follow in the footsteps of some of the game’s greats and play for the Bath first team.
Chapman, 18, has traded the Saracens’ academy for life in the West Country to pursue his dream of playing professional rugby while studying at the city’s university.
The Colfe’s School old boy turned out for the first time in the club’s colours at the third round of the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby 7s Series in Gloucester.
He is in line to appear in finals day at the Rec and he has impressed 69-cap England lock Grewcock with his pace from scrum-half.
But the former Bath stalwart warned Chapman that if he wants to join famous names like Jeremy Guscott, Matt Perry and Stuart Barnes in representing the club, he has a lot of work ahead of him.
“There’s a huge amount of personal responsibility,” said Grewcock, now the club’s academy director. “We can guide them as much as we want, but ultimately they’re the ones who need to put time aside.
“The guys who do it successfully are probably beyond their years to manage that situation and have an understanding of that situation and how important it is for them.
“Tom’s a talented scrum-half and he’s quick, so it was a good opportunity for the first team coaches to have a look at him in the 7s.
“They would have seen bits of him and had some good reports of how he played so there’s a chance of bringing him to the academy system. It’s subject to his results but hopefully we’ll offer him a place.”
With a short time span for most rugby players’ careers, Grewcock is keen for his academy pupils to exercise their grey matter outside of the sport whilst still being students of the game and Chapman, who spent part of last season on loan at Blackheath in National One, is no different.
“Tom’s trying to make sure he gets his education, which from our perspective we’re really supportive of,” he added.
“Bath University is one of the best universities, it’s a difficult to get into.
“We’ve got a few guys coming into Bath University on the university scholarship scheme, so all being well with their results we’ll get these guys in.
“It gives us a chance to develop them. It’s not always easy to make a call with someone at 18 to say whether they’re going to make it or not.”
To book tickets for the J.P. Morgan Premiership Rugby 7s Series Final this Friday at The Recreation Ground, Bath, call 0844 448 1865 or visit bathrugby.com/tickets
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