A FORMER Ellesmere College pupil is celebrating after being called up to the Wales squad for the forthcoming Six Nations rugby tournament.
James King, a flanker for the Ospreys in the Rabo Direct Pro12 League, received news of his inclusion in the squad earlier this week. Having studied at the school until four years ago, he follows in the footsteps of legendary English Grand Slam-winning captain, Bill Beaumont, who is also an Old Ellesmerian and went on to captain the British Lions.
King, 22, who was born in Australia and formed part of the victorious Ospreys side which defeated Leinster by the narrowest of margins in last season’s Grand Final, has made 35 appearances for the Swansea-based club and could be in line to make his full international debut when Wales kick off the defence of their Six Nations crown against Ireland in Cardiff on February 2.
Paul Goodwin, director of admissions at Ellesmere College who ran the school’s rugby academy while James was a pupil, said: “Everyone at Ellesmere College is absolutely delighted for James.
“He was part of the rugby academy during my time in charge and he always showed great athleticism and ability.
“James gets through an enormous amount of work on the field and his call- up to the Wales squad is fantastic recognition for the academy and Ellesmere College itself.”
King, previously capped by Wales Under 18s during his Ellesmere College days, as well as Wales Under 20s, gets his chance at senior level following injuries to usual second row selections Alun-Wyn Jones, Luke Charteris, Bradley Davies, Ian Evans and former Wales captain, Ryan Jones.
His inclusion is an opportunity for him to stake his claim for a regular place in the squad with Wales who suffered a disappointing string of results in the recent Autumn series, which included defeats to Samoa and Argentina.
King suffered a horrifying injury in January 2012 when plastic surgeons carried out an operation to save his ear after it was literally ripped off in a collision with another player during a league match with Cardiff Blues.
Ellesmere College currently has four schoolboy rugby internationals in its ranks, including two for England, and one each representing Georgia and Germany.