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Rees: I want to follow in old boys footsteps
TOM Rees can't wait to become the seventh rugby player from the Royal Grammar School to represent England.
The Wasps openside flanker has already captained England U21 and now has full honours in his sights.
He said: "My goal for the future is to play for England and if I achieve that, I'll be really happy. I want to be part of the England set-up for years to come and win World Cups.
"I would be very, very proud to get there."
And if Rees, who attended the RGS for two years, were to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Matt Dawson, Nick Duncombe and Nick Beale, he would have to thank his old school and its former rugby master Colin Tattersall for getting him there.
He said: "It really helped me develop my rugby. I was playing club rugby for Basingstoke and it was great but going to the RGS meant a high level of rugby week in week out and that really helped me prepare for coming to Wasps.
"Colin was the England U16s coach the year I played and was influential in me going to the RGS.
"He can be an intense guy but he was a good coach and a good person to work with.
"The RGS just has an ethos there. The boys want to play well for each other. Coaches can make an influence but the guys there and the spirit in the school really does help."
Rees was actually pulled out of the U21s last week to play for Wasps in their 33-19 victory over London Irish, with director of rugby Warren Gatland impressed with his player.
He said: "It's pleasing that England U21 released him. We had the discussion with England that his development as a player would be much better in the Premiership.
"He's an exciting talent and very quick. He's got a big future ahead of him."
Rees added: "Premiership rugby is the highest level I can be looking to play in at the moment.
"Captaining the U21s was a great experience and I really enjoyed that but, in terms of personal development, the chance to play in the Premiership is on that next level and that is what will make me a better player in the future.
"The guys you are playing against are much better developed than at U21. They're a bit more streetwise, they're smarter and they're stronger.
"You just learn from being around guys who can take it to that level."
Rees is now hoping to remain in the side even when the international boys come back.
He said: "I want to be competing for a place, not just when Johnny O'Connor is away but when he's here as well."