A young Sam Maunder (left) and Richard Capstick (right) playing for Exeter Chiefs Academy
First Year BSc Geography Student and Rugby Chief, Sam Maunder, Starts at Scrum Half for England U20s
University of Exeter first year BSc Geography student Sam Maunder, will run out at Sandy Park in front of a home crowd wearing the U20s Rose.
The Exeter Chiefs youngster who made his 1st XV Premiership appearance back in September against Sale will now earn his second cap for England U20s after they had a narrow loss away to Ireland.
When interviewed in camp this week Sam said “It would mean the world to me to play for England at Sandy Park, I’m lucky enough to play my rugby here, so to potentially represent my country against the world champions at home would be incredible, it would be a moment I would never, ever forget.” Now known to be starting in the number 9 jersey, Sam will undoubtedly have a homecoming of epic proportions.
Sam was locally schooled at Blundell’s, as was his brother and fellow University of Exeter student-athlete, Jack (BA Business and Management) who shares the same passion and position at scrum-half in the Exeter Chiefs team. Sam, who only agreed on a professional contract with the club in early last year, follows in his father’s and brother’s footsteps playing for Exeter.
Having made his Exeter University Rugby Football Club 1st XV debut at the beginning of December, Sam has been juggling full-time academics, daily professional training with Chiefs and now training camps with his country at U20 level.
Sam was asked what got him into the sport: “The thing I liked at the beginning was just being with your mates and having fun, I didn’t realise until quite late that I might be able to make a career out of the sport. Maybe when Rob Baxter offered me the contract was the point I thought I could give it a go and become a professional."
Sam went on to say "It was a very special moment. Haydn Thomas (University of Exeter Alumni, University Coach & Chiefs Academy coach) told me I was going to have a meeting with Rob at the club, I was pretty confused as to what it was about and when he told me the club wanted to offer me a contract, my mum and dad were there also, so it was very special. It was a huge confidence booster to know that they want to invest in me as a person.”
Sam is joined in camp with another first-year student in Richard Capstick (BSc Exercise & Sports Sciences) who has also been paving his own way at the club and University. Yet to make a playing team within this 20s campaign, Rich will be another University of Exeter student to keep your eyes on for country and club. Both players are supported by a unit of Exeter Chiefs young stars proving that the programme and talent in Devon's capital, is one of the reasons why Exeter are sitting aloft of the premiership and the BUCS Super Rugby league, as well as having some of England's stand out players in Jack Knowle and Henry Slade. The performances and selections showcase why Exeter is a melting pot for developing the international young stars, as well as producing well-rounded student-athletes.
Keep your eyes on the University and Chiefs Academy, as the next international stars are just around the corner.
Tickets for Saturday's 09/02/2019 game against France U20s are still available at www.exeterchiefs.co.uk
Date: 8 February 2019