THE Isle of Wight has produced another top sportsman in London Irish Academy star Rory Taylor, who was recently named in the England U18s squad to take part in a summer tour of South Africa.

Previously capped at age-grade level, Rory will play his part in a series of matches in the Cape Town area, between August 14-29.

It follows his eye-catching displays at the U18 Six Nations Festival tournament in France recently.

A new and exciting addition to the England U18 squad, the fly-half said he was extremely proud to have been selected to wear the white of England for the first time.

Isle of Wight County Press: Rory Taylor in action for the England U18s in Paris.Rory Taylor in action for the England U18s in Paris.

“The Six Nations was a great opportunity to get a sense of playing high level rugby. It was a brilliant experience to take forward as I try to develop further as a player,” said Rory.

Rory, who studies at Wellington College, Berkshire — one of the country’s elite rugby-playing colleges — learned the sport on the Island, starting with Vectis RFC at the age of six, before joining London Irish and Ryde School.

A dedicated rugby player through and through, Rory went on to play at U16 level for Hampshire, Ryde School and Vectis.

Rory was also, during his formative years in the sport, selected for the London Irish developing player programme’s (DPP) U13s — beating off tough competition to be part of the squad, from as early as the age of 12.

Isle of Wight County Press: Rory Taylor in action for Vectis U14sRory Taylor in action for Vectis U14s

“London Irish have helped me massively to train at a high level and push my boundaries, alongside the continued family support I get,” added Rory.

He subsequently progressed through the age groups with the DPP until he earned selection for the U18 Gold Academy — named in the England Academy Player programme — then on to play for the England U18s.

Growing up and well supported by his parents, Rory followed a rigorous training schedule — playing several times a week at school, Monday and Thursday evenings at London Irish and on Sundays with Vectis.

Rory, 17, of Newport Road, Niton, has worked under several influential coaches from a young age.

Isle of Wight County Press: Rory Taylor, right, in action for Wellington College this season.Rory Taylor, right, in action for Wellington College this season.

While he was at Ryde School, his rugby education was further enhanced under its scholarship programme when he trained with Richard De Carpentier, a professional England Rugby Sevens player at the school.

"The Island should be extremely proud of Rory and all the people who have supported him along the way, who will continue to follow his progress and cheer him on in his pursuit of playing for England’s men’s team one day,” said Frank Bagnall, Ryde School’s director of sport.

“At school, Rory was extremely hard working and was an exceptional role model to the younger athletes at Ryde — helping and mentoring them to improve their technical ability, as well as their understanding of the game.

Isle of Wight County Press: Rory Taylor is proud to wear England's colours.Rory Taylor is proud to wear England's colours.

“It was a pleasure to coach Rory at Ryde and support him with his rugby and his athletic development through our sports scholarship programme.

“We wish Rory the very best of luck.”

Sports scholar Rory studied at Ryde School from the age of 11 to the end of his GCSEs, before he took up a further sports scholarship at Wellington last autumn, where he also plays cricket.

Rory did his reputation no harm when Wellington drew 32-32 against another top rugby school, Sedbergh, earlier this season — outstanding throughout with his kicking and general play.

Rory’s 45m kick, the last action of the game, sailed just over the posts to level it — ranking it as one of the best English schoolboy games in modern times.