JUNIOR RUGBY: Ace Alice hopes dream will come true

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SPALDING rugby sevens ace Alice Tinn is hoping next month’s Sainsbury’s School Games is just the first step on the road to her dream of playing for England.

The 17-year-old will compete at Barking Rugby Club in May and is aiming to one day pull on the Red Rose like idols Maggie Alphonsi and Manu Tuilagi after being called up to the U/18 National Talent Development Group for the second year running.

The Spalding High School student will be competing at her second School Games, backed by National Lottery funding from Sport England, and is looking to improve on last year’s third-place finish with England Midlands’ team.

And Tinn – a member of Paviors Girls U/18 side – thinks a gold medal next month would be the perfect start to furthering her claims for a national berth.

“My big dream is to play for England at some point in the future,” said Tinn. “My coaches have told me that if I keep working on my game then it could happen for me one day.

“I met Maggie Alphonsi at one of the National Talent Development Group meetings. She gave us a great talk and was so nice to us.

“She is a real inspiration to me and I’m aiming to follow in her footsteps and get myself into the England team.

“I’m also hoping to do better at the School Games this year. I would like to come away with a gold medal but I’m just happy to be competing there – it will be such a great experience for everybody.”

Tinn and her teammates have been undertaking a training program tailored specifically to rugby sevens for the School Games, supported by a range of partners including the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Youth Sport Trust, Department of Health, Paralympics GB, Sport Wales, Sport Scotland and Sport Northern Ireland.

And Tinn believes it will stand them in better stead to challenge for gold this year.

“I think we will be far more prepared than last time because we’ve had specific sevens training this time round and it could make a big difference,” she added.

“I get pretty nervous before a normal game as it is, so I don’t know how I’ll feel. It’s definitely the biggest event I’ve ever taken part in but I’m also really excited about it.”

The Sainsbury’s 2012 School Games is being held in the Olympic Park and other venues from May 6-9 with school-aged elite athletes competing across 12 sports. Visit www.2012schoolgames.com for more information.