At just 20-years-old Declan Farrell has faced some of the oldest and best teams in the country in his first few weeks with RFU Championship side Nottingham.
The Loughborough College Sports Science student has faced English giants Leicester Tigers and Northampton Saints as well as famous clubs plying their trade in the second tier, including London Welsh and Moseley.
A pre-season injury to Jimmy Stevens left the path clear for Farrell to make an impact in the 1st XV after signing his first ever professional contract over the summer.
The youngster said: “I moved from Doncaster Rugby’s academy to Loughborough where I became a sports scholar at the College.
I played for Loughborough for a year before moving into finding my feet here at Nottingham. I was absolutely over the moon to be signing for Nottingham at 20.I think initially it was a bit of a culture shock for me. The level at which you’ve got to think at is a lot higher, it’s a lot more physical and it’s a lot faster. But obviously training during pre-season three or four times a week, I soon became attuned to it and I feel pretty confident now and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.”
The young hooker has paid tribute to the flexible approach to learning allowed to him by the College, saying: “I was fortunate enough to become a sports scholar this year.
“Luckily there’s a dedicated team there within the sports department who I can see if I’ve got any issues regarding my lectures or seminars and they can put it right and I can go and see my tutors at different times. My training comes first and it’s quite a tailored relationship and it’s been very supportive of me and I’m very appreciative.”