ELLIOTT STOOKE’S magnificent first season in top level rugby got even better this week with his call-up to the England Saxons (second tier) squad.
And the former Stow RFC graduate would be guaranteed a rapturous reception if picked for Saturday’s clash against Irish Wolfhounds as the match (5pm kick-off) is to be played at Kingsholm, the home of Gloucester Rugby which he first supported as a lad and for whom he now plays.
The towering 20-year-old comes in to replace injured Leicester Tigers lock Graham Kitchener.
Stooke has been one of the rare shining lights in an indifferent season for Gloucester and again he starred in Sunday’s Heineken Cup win in Perpignan when the Cherry & Whites managed to extend their European season by booking a place in the quarter-finals of the Amlin Challenge Cup.
He has turned out 19 times for Gloucester this campaign and scored a try on his debut against Northampton Saints.
The call-up of Stooke, who won two BUCS titles with Hartpury College at Twickenham, continues his meteoric rise through the England ranks.
He made his England U18 debut against Ireland in summer of 2011 and was fast-tracked to the England U20 set-up for the 2012 Six Nations Championship, making his debut off the bench against Scotland.
Elliott was an ever-present for England during the 2013 U20s Six Nations, starting all five matches and starred in the England U20s’ triumphant Junior World Championship campaign in France last summer.
Having made his Gloucester 1st XV debut from the bench away to Mont-de-Marsan in the Amlin Cup in October, 2012, he was given his first senior pro contract with the club this season.
Tickets for the Saxons game can be bought for as little as £8 if purchased before 6.30pm on Thursday. Children’s tickets anywhere in the stadium cost £1.
Stooke’s Gloucester team-mate Freddie Burns, who recently announced his departure from Kingsholm at the end of the season, is also expected to feature for the Saxons, but former Cirencester RFC product Henry Trinder misses out with a groin injury.