By Ollie Godden
Josh Beaumont has risen up through the ranks of the rugby world in recent months. Earning his first England call up against the Barbarians in January, followed by a contract extension and the captaincy at his club, Sale Sharks, the former St Aidan’s student is establishing himself in the professional game. It is fair to say that 2016 is becoming his year, and as Durham students, we all feel a certain allurement to one of England Rugby’s brightest new prospects.
Beaumont, who studied Geography and wrote his dissertation on ‘The Impact of Mining on Water Quality in the Northern late district’, started at Durham in 2011 and as a late developer into the game, started his first year on the bench. However, he soon flourished into captaining the 2013 “Invincibles” side. After interest from several then-Premiership clubs including Sale Sharks and Newcastle Falcons in his final year, the second-row spent time in the Newcastle Academy but ultimately signed with the former. In a surreal turn of events, he even had to seek permission to be excused from a BUCS game so that he could represent his new club side in what was Europe’s premier rugby competition, The Heineken Cup.
Since his debut season in 2013, the man from Blackpool has thrived in the pinnacle of English Rugby, taking to the professional game like a duck to water. As the 24-year-old closes in on 50 apps for Sale, he can feel encouraged by the recognition bestowed upon him by many including former England international Mark Cueto who has described him as “incredibly hardworking”, adding that the fly-half turned second row offers “great game understanding” with handling “as good as most backs”.
This versatility has also earned the recognition of England boss Eddie Jones. With George Kruis and Maro Itoje both out injured, Beaumont’s form offers food for thought for the Australian and leaves Eddie Jones with a selection dilemma. He has had the opportunity to prove himself in the England camp, being called up as injury cover for Courtney Lawes, and has seemingly superseding Bath’s Charlie Ewels in the pecking order in his short time on England duty.
However, with England having beaten South Africa without adding to their sizeable injury list, Beaumont, for the time-being at least, has been allowed to return to Sale, as he awaits his big moment.
Photograph: Sale Sharks