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Oscar Beard excited by England Six Nations call up

Harlequins back Oscar Beard says he is ‘excited’ by the opportunity to play in a new look England squad this Six Nations.

Harlequins back Oscar Beard says he is ‘excited’ by the opportunity to play in a new look England squad this Six Nations.

The 22-year-old has seen his stock rise in recent months, which has been capped off with a deserved call up to the England senior set-up for this Six Nations.

Beard is one of a number of young players in Steve Borthwick’s squad for the tournament in February, and speaking to members of the media today, he detailed his excitement at being part of the new generation of England.

“It’s really exciting. It still hasn’t really sunk in,” he said.

He added: “I know a few of the other boys, I’ve played with Fin Smith for a while and obviously he’s ripping it up at Northampton, and I know Tommy Freeman and those sort of boys; to link back up with them on the biggest stage will be really cool.”

“Hopefully we can all enjoy it together and learn as much as we can and just go from there. Obviously really exciting.”

Beard isn’t the only young Harlequin named in Borthwick’s squad, as powerful back-rower Chandler Cunningham-South has also been included in the wider 36-man squad for the Six Nations.

Cunningham-South made the switch across London this summer following the collapse of London Irish, and the New Zealand-born forward has gone from strength to strength at the Stoop, and this form has been rewarded with an England call up.

“I’ve spoken to Chandler,” said Beard. He’s similar to me, can’t really believe it, we’re both buzzing.”

“We were both ringing each other last night being like ‘does this feel real’ and saying ‘no, not really, it will when it’s announced’ and texting me this morning.

Beard was also full of praise for his clubmate: “He’s a special player and will go far. We’ll have each other’s back back in there and really enjoy it together.”

The famous six go to the Six Nations

As Beard mentioned, he has played alongside the likes of Fin Smith and Tommy Freeman before. Beard, Smith and Freeman played in the same England U20s side as George Martin, Raffi Quirke and Jack van Poortvliet.

Smith, Freeman and Beard are in the main 36-man-squad, and Martin, Quirke and van Poortvliet will be around the team as they continue their respective rehabilitation processes following injuries.

This group now form a good young core of English talent, and Beard was full of praise for the pathway they all came through together.

“It’s a great pathway. Some of those boys in there have been nailing it over those two years.”

It wasn’t just his cohort of talent that Beard sees as success stories for the academy systems in England, detailing the impressive rise of England full-back Freddie Steward.

“You look at guys like Freddie Steward, he’s a year or a couple years above me, you see how renowned he is not only in England but in world rugby; so they’re definitely doing something right in the academy system and along with the international pathway.”