Catholic rugby player Fergus Mulchrone has returned to his old school to tell the next generation of rugby hopefuls of life in the professional ranks.
Mr Mulchrone, 23, plays centre for New Sale Sharks and was a pupil at St Ambrose College in Cheshire, a school founded by the Christian Brothers.
Described as a model for young rugby players by Kingsley Black, the Sale Sharks director of rugby, Mr Mulchrone, from Moor Lane, Wilmslow, told an appreciative audience of his unusual path to the top.
“After leaving school, I took a year out to go travelling and then took a marketing degree at Manchester Metropolitan University. I joined Macclesfield Rugby Club and just kept applying myself until I was spotted.”
He added: “Most of my contemporaries went to Premiership academies, but I am glad I did it this way. It was fantastic to play at Macclesfield.”
The son of a London Irish stalwart and brother of Charlie Mulchrone, who was a schoolboy Irish international, Fergus was never the star of the memorable St Ambrose College side, which won the North-West Floodlit club in 2005. Nigel Handy, head of Physical Education at St Ambrose College, said: “Fergus wasn’t the stand-out player in his generation, but whereas the majority of talented young players do not apply themselves properly, Fergus just kept going and going and going and look where he is now – every young player’s dream – a contract with a Premiership club.”
Mr Mulchrone told his audience that there was no substitute for hard work. “We start at 8.30 in the morning and have our weight, body mass and body fats monitored. We then work on core flexibility, will have two rugby sessions for endurance and skills with more work in the weights room. It doesn’t stop there. I know some guys who train hard but then go down the chippy and to the bar. You just can’t do that. Diet and rest are essential too.”
He has already played three games for Sale and was not about to talk about other ambitions. “I got a contract in the summer and that’s fantastic, to talk about England is just unrealistic – my ambitions are all with Sale.”
Kingsley Black said: “Fergus is a model for the future. With the new wage cap in the Premiership more and more players are going to France for big money contracts and clubs like ours just cannot scour the world for fresh talent. We have to look closer to home and who could be a better role model than Fergus, who learned his rugby just a stone’s throw from the club? It’s these boys that we really want to encourage and to show just what can be achieved with hard work.”