By Haden Tye
Jack Maunder has been called up to the England squad for the Argentina Tour and says his time on loan with Albion at the start of the season was invaluable in his development.
Exeter Chief’s 20-year-old scrum-half played three times for Albion at the start of the season but has since returned to Chiefs and forced his way into their first-team, with his performances earning him an England call.
England coach Eddie Jones has named 15 new faces for the tour of Argentina and Jack is one of them. The former Albion loanee says that his time at Albion was vital to help him adapt to men’s rugby.
“At the start of the season I was still really raw to men’s rugby,” said Jack. “Obviously I played for Redruth last year but due to injury I only managed to play probably seven or eight games so I was still a bit inexperienced in men’s rugby. I think my body was still waking up to the fact that men’s rugby is a little bit harder and faster so the games I got and the training I got at Plymouth was invaluable to me really.
“I had a great time. I played three or four games. I played against Cambridge, Hartpury and Esher away and they were all really really tough games so it was a great way to start the season. Hartpury was a very tough game but the two other games were really good wins. They have got a great team and it was a really nice way to start the season.
“I knew most of the boys because I was on loan last year at Plymouth, but I didn’t get to play sadly. I knew most of the boys and obviously there are a few other Chiefs boys that are on loan. I am very friendly with pretty much all the team really; they are a great bunch of lads.”
Jack knows Kieran Hallett well and speaks highly of Albion’s player/coach and says that Albion are in the right hands going forward.
“I get on with him really well,” said Jack. “He is a super coach. He has great knowledge and obviously he is doing great stuff with Plymouth. I didn’t get to work with him extensively, but in the time I was at Plymouth he was really nice and had great energy and great knowledge of the game which obviously Plymouth are reaping the benefits of now.”
England will play two test matches in South America against Argentina, with the first game on Saturday 10 June and the second a week later on Saturday 17 June. Jack says the season that has led to his England call-up has been very lively.
“It’s been nuts really,” says Jack of his own development this season. “I didn’t really envisage myself at the start of the year being able to get as many opportunities as I have been able to get. I started off with Plymouth and then played my debut, then after a few games against Clermont and then a few injuries and a bit of luck and I have been lucky enough to play a few more games for Chiefs which has been a dream come true really.”