For a number of years we’ve seen players come through the youth ranks of Worthing RFC and strive to push themselves. Fergus Guiry joined Worthing when he was 12 years old and scored the deciding try during the colts national cup final in 2016. More recently Fergus captained the England 7s side and competed in the Oktoberfest tournament in Germany. Amy Wilson-Hardy is another Worthing youth player who now has a contract with Bristol ladies and was recently selected for the England Red Roses squad, who narrowly lost out to New Zealand by 9 points in the World Cup final. If you were one of the 44 million viewers who tuned in to the Rio Olympics last year, you would have seen Amy representing Great Britain 7s. A number of Worthing youth players have pulled on the Raiders shirt including Kieran Leeming, Jon Whittall, Harry Short and Jack Maslen to name a few.
Developing the younger generation of players within our club has always been important to us and something we pride ourselves on. Rene Draude and Jon Mills launched the Raiders Academy last month in the hope of creating an elite group of players from not only Worthing but surrounding clubs including Bognor and Chichester to compete against the likes of Christ Hospital and Brighton College.
We caught up with two Worthing players who were part of the historic colts side that won the Sussex Cup and National Cup during the same season and are now plying their trade in the 4th tier of English rugby with Worthing Raiders. Rhys Litterick and Jack Forrest who both recently turned 18 have proven to be valuable assets to the first team squad and will hopefully remain so for a number of years to come.
When did you both start playing for Worthing?
RL: I started playing here for the under 9s, straight into the contact which I loved.
JF: I started at Worthing when I was 6 as my older brother and dad were both here.
Rhys, how did it feel leading the colts to victory in both the National and Sussex cups during the same season?
RL: To win both of the cups felt amazing because not only is it such a big achievement and now part of our clubs history but the team grew up together, which made it so much more surreal. We’ve been playing alongside each other for years and to be crowned National champions is something we’ll always remember for years to come.
Jack, during the last few minutes of the National cup final, how were the nerves knowing you had to score or the dream was over?
JF: I was surprisingly calm and I think that was mainly down to having played with the same boys for the past 10 years. We all knew exactly where each other were on the pitch and it worked well when Fergus went over in the corner.
How’s the step up from colts to senior rugby been for you both?
RL: The step up is huge, especially in the front row where your opposition are generally over 6 foot and at least 18 stone. There’s no easy games and I’ve learnt so much more over the past couples of months than I have in all of the years leading up to now. Picking the brains of the older and more experienced boys has certainly helped and everyone has been brilliant.
JF: Obviously the difference from school boy rugby is the speed of the game is a lot quicker and tiring plus the physicality of the game is much tougher. There’s a good number of ex Premiership and Championship players in National 2 who love to hit hard.
Do you see yourself playing at Worthing for a long period of time?
RL: I’d like to think I’ll be playing for Worthing for a long time and it’ll give me the opportunity to learn so much more at senior level. Of course everyone wants to play the highest level possible but I’m young and willing to work hard here.
JF: As I’ve been playing here for a long time already and I live locally, I’d have to say Worthing is a club I want to be at for a long time to come.
Lastly do either of you have any words of wisdom for the younger generation who could be in your shoes one day?
RL: If I could give any advice to the younger lads, it would be to enjoy yourself as much as possible, always be willing to learn and better yourself at every opportunity.
JF: Age, Size and Speed doesn’t matter as there’s a position for everyone. Just work hard and enjoy yourself.
*Rhys Litterick – RL*
*Jack Forrest – JF*