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Young Gun: Josh Peters – Northampton lock

Josh PetersIt’s a country renowned for tiki-taka rather than rucks and mauls but after honing his skills with the oval ball in Spain, lock Josh Peters believes he can buck that trend.

Peters’ formative years were not spent enduring gruelling English winters, rather he spent his first eight years with Marbella RFC while his family was based on the Costa del Sol.

While with Marbella, where he often played at No.8, he helped them to become champions of Spain no less than four times and he travelled to Portugal with Spain Under-17s last year.

Had a return to the UK to attend Oundle School not materialised, the 17-year-old Peters may have forged a career with Los Leones, having also represented Spain Under-18s despite his tender years.

But now back on home shores and an integral part of the Premiership runners-up’s academy, Peters believes he can use his overseas development to his advantage.

“It’s not really a country that is known for rugby or for producing many players but there is a lot of quality in Spain, if perhaps not the strength in depth,” said Peters.

“There are a lot of English people living in that part of the country and so rugby is pretty popular there and it’s played to a good level, by a lot of the Spanish people as well.

“I definitely think it’s a country where rugby is on the up and I’m very grateful for getting the chance to play there and play at a high level for my age when I was there.

“I ended up coming back and going to school at Oundle and so joining the Saints academy has been a perfect fit for me. It’s a great club with a great set-up and I’m enjoying being back in England where the standard is so high.”

Peters pays tribute to Pablo Munilla, his coach at Marbella, for playing such a crucial role in his development. “Pablo was a great role model and now [former England and Saints hooker] John Olver is my PE teacher and coaches me in the Oundle first XV. He has inspired me to be the best I can be.”

At 6ft 7ins and 17 stone, aged 17, Peters is always likely to stand out from the crowd and it’s little surprise he has found his calling in the second row.

The coming season will be one of development for Peters before he thinks about the seniors, but and while he’s juggling his studies for his A Levels, he will be doing plenty of rugby-related homework.

“There are a few things that I’m looking to work on at the Saints academy this season – trying to be a bit more physical and using my size to my advantage is one of them,” he added.

“As a second row you always have to work on the set-piece but I also want to make an impact in the loose and makes my presence felt like Courtney Lawes. There are a lot of good second rows at Saints to learn from.”

Peters made his England U18s debut in March and was part of the side that clinched the title at the FIRA-AER U18s European Championship in France.

He is currently with England on the three-match tour of South Africa, where he has already played his part, starting in this week’s last-gasp win over Wales.

“It’s a great opportunity to be on a long-distance tour, and it’s a bit of a step into the unknown,” he added.

“We’ll play France which will be a good rematch from the European Championship final as well as the Springboks who are a physical bunch. But that’s what you want to test yourself against.”

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