Castleford's academy prop Will Maher was delighted and ‘extremely proud' to make his England Academy debut in the 34-30 win over France at The Mend-A-Hose Jungle on Friday night.
The 18-year-old, who joined the Tigers from the RFL Cumbria Academy last year, was called up to the squad after a number of impressive performances for Castleford's U19s, as well as a couple of first team appearances in pre-season against York and Dewsbury.
Despite a scruffy performance from England on the night, Maher was pleased to make his bow at his home stadium and hopes it is the first of many England appearances.
"To represent your country is one of the biggest honours you can have," said Maher. "It was a bit of a scrappy win, but all week we went on that desire factor and we showed that at the end.
"I made a few mistakes myself, but we all just carried on and we won it in the last minute. That just shows the spirit of this team.
"But it was a great occasion. It was great to just sing the national anthem in front of your own crowd and it was a real privilege to be a part of."
Maher has now set his sights on progressing and improving at Castleford for the rest of the season, but also hopes he can pull the England jersey on again in the near future.
"I want to keep my place in this team and I want to play better because I made a few errors," he said. "I will take on board the feedback from the coaches and go from there.
"I will work as hard as I can on everything and I will take that on towards playing club football for Castleford. I am going to take everything as it comes and the more feedback I get, the better. Hopefully I will keep improving."
You can find out more about Will by reading a profile on him which was publishing in the Tigers' matchday programme Black & Amber for the recent First Utility Super League game with Leeds Rhinos. Click here to buy a print or digital version online.
By Adam Etherington.
Photo: Will Maher on England Academy duties by Matthew Merrick Photography.
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