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Young Gun: Billy Keast – England U20s and Exeter prop

Billy KeastBilly Keast might have made the Six Nations squad due to injury but now he’s there he is determined to make the best of his one and only year at U20s level.

Born late in 1996, the Exeter prop turned out for England U18s last season and toured South Africa in the summer.

He has now been promoted to the U20s but he will be too old in 2017.

Missing out on the EPS squad at the start of this season was a disappointment but injury to Billy Walker brought him back into the frame and he’s got his sight set on the World Cup in Manchester in June.

“I haven’t got another year at this level because of my age so playing in the Six Nations and hopefully the World Cup was a big target of mine,” he told The Rugby Paper.

“It’s a shame Billy got injured because we toured South Africa together last year and we get along well but it allowed me come into the squad and I’ve made three appearances from the bench in the Six Nations so far.

“I’m covering tighthead which was a bit of a surprise to me as I usually play at loosehead.

“I can play both sides and in the long term I might settle at tighthead. I’m 17 stones now which suits playing at loosehead but I’m trying to put on a stone before making the switch.”

Born and raised in Cornwall, the 19-year-old always played rugby, but his career took off when he joined Truro College.

Under the tutelage of Marek Churcher, he reached another level and that’s when Exeter moved to sign him.

Three years later, Keast is patiently waiting for his opportunity at the Chiefs while learning his trade on loan with Redruth.

He said: “Playing in National Two is great for me because that’s where I learn the dark arts of the scrum and you can get away with more things.

“At age group level, it’s stricter and you have to scrum well as a pack. In National Two you can make a difference almost on your own if your work the opposition.

“Chiefs have ten props in their squad so it’s been tough for me to get some first team game time this year especially without the LV=Cup.

“I’m still part-time because I’m finishing my course at college but I hope to go full-time in the academy next season and push on from there.

“Playing on loan in the National League One or Championship would be good while maybe make my first team debut in the LV=Cup.”

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