Matt Banahan proved it was possible for a Jerseyman to make the grade during a decade with Bath Rugby. Now a young scrum-half at Hartpury is bidding to follow in his fellow islanders' footsteps by winning a professional deal.
Having won a series of honours during his sports performance degree studies in Gloucestershire Harry Cochrane has the chance to cap off his final year in style, with the college setting the pace in major national and university competitions. Harry says:
“I was encouraged by my dad to play rugby at a very early age and lived in Jersey for my whole life before coming over to go to university at Hartpury. I absolutely love it here. Hartpury director of rugby John Barnes got in touch and once I had a look around, I made up my mind. I thought I'd get out of my mum's hair and stop driving her mad! Quite a few boys have come over from Jersey now and there is no better place to go if you want to play rugby and continue your education. Half of the modules you do are around performance analysis and help your game at lot.
As nice as Jersey is, it's a small place where everyone seems to know everyone. We didn't get that many games at senior level but I quite often get two games a week here, so there are more opportunities. I mix it up. Sometimes I play for the university and have played on the wing a lot for the Saturday team in National 1 when I'm needed. They are scoring so many tries at the moment, so you can't really go wrong. We've got one hell of a set-up. We have a squad of 30 to 40 boys all capable of playing so it is great to be involved in.
I've played sevens for Worcester but we'll wait and see whether they are interested and see what comes up. Hopefully something will happen for me. I've been playing alright this year and will give it my best shot. I want to stay at number nine ideally, because you see more of the ball there than out on the wing. I want to go somewhere I can play, really, and get some rugby under my belt at the best level I can.”
Key achievements: 2016 Represents Worcester Warriors in the Singha Sevens at Newcastle, a member of the Hartpury teams riding high at the top of the National 1 and BUCS Super Rugby tables
2014 A member of the Hartpury 1st XV squad promoted from National 2 South for the first time, helps the college win the British Universities & Colleges Sport Championship
2013 At the age of 17, represents the London and South East division U18 sides, named on the bench for Jersey 1st XV in the British & Irish Cup