Millfield Upper Sixth pupil Josh Gillespie has signed a professional contract to join Northampton Saints in July 2019.
The 18-year-old, who was born in Haywards Heath, also became the youngest player to represent the club in November 2018, after being called up for the team’s Premiership Rugby Cup game against Wasps just 15 days after his birthday.
Gillespie, who has played for the Northampton Saint’s Academy since the summer of 2017, is studying for three A levels in Economics, Chemistry and Psychology whilst training with the premiership team. Josh also represented England U18 in South Africa last summer, starting in test matches against France and Wales, scoring a try in his debut match against France.
Several other Millfield Rugby pupils have been selected for national sides in U18 and U19 age groups: Lower Sixth pupils Dan John and Oliver Burrows played for Wales U18 team against France, Lower Sixth Ewan Richards played for England U18s, winning against Scotland. Upper Sixth Tyler Olding has been called up to play for Wales U19 against Japan and has joined the Cardiff Blues Academy, and Upper Sixth Fergus Walker has been called up to England U18 England Counties for 2019 season.
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A number of successful former Millfield Rugby pupils have gone on to play professional rugby, including Sir Gareth Edwards (Wales, Cardiff), Chris Robshaw (England, Harlequins), Jonathan Joseph (England, Bath), Mako Vunipola (England, Saracens) and Henry Thomas (England, Bath).
Gillespie will be playing in the England U18 fixture against France on 24th March.
Gillespie said: “I am so excited to begin my career in professional rugby this summer, and I look forward to seeing where this opportunity takes me. I could not have achieved this without the support of Millfield Rugby, especially my coach Mr Mallett.”
Millfield’s Director of Rugby and former England and Bath prop, John Mallett, said: "Josh has had an incredible rise through academy rugby, and he pursues his sporting excellence alongside a full A level academic programme. I cannot wait to watch him take to the field at Franklin's Gardens as a professional player. I hope Josh’s hard work and dedication inspires others at Millfield to pursue their dreams, in which ever field.”