England Under-18 winger Marland Yarde says he has born with a knack of scoring tries and he has certainly proved that in a rollercoaster last few weeks.
A Twickenham hat-trick in the Daily Mail School Under-18 Cup final for Whitgift came hot on the heels of four tries he scored against Scotland in the Five Nations Festivals in Llandovery, Wales.
Yarde, who turns 18 on April 20, possesses all the ingredients to give defenders nightmares for years to come: devastating pace, being able to step off both feet and most importantly an uncanny ability to get his way to the tryline.
That inevitably has led to plenty of interest from scouts and agents but with a two-year deal on the table from London Irish, Yarde is adamant there’s no better place for him to make the step up into men’s rugby.
He said: “I have been offered a two-year contract starting from July but there’s no hurry to get anything signed straight away.
“I like the atmosphere and coaches there. I am comfortable in that environment and I have not looked at any other clubs. I have had a few calls from agents but my mum takes care of most of that business.
“For me personally it is not about trying to find the best possible deal but having a club where I feel happy and will be given an opportunity.
“Over the next two years I want to be building towards the London Irish first team. I would look to establish myself in the Premiership squad and challenge myself against some of the other wingers in the squad.
“I look to someone like Tom Homer who took his chance when there were some injuries and I think that can be me.
“You also have Sailosi Tagicakibau who for me is one of the best wingers in the world and a great player to learn off.”
Yarde could have turned his hand to a number of sports. He was on QPR’s books as a triallist, competed at the English School Games in the triple jump but it was a Middlesex county coach John Ryan who persuaded him that his future was in the oval ball game.
Initially selected as a flanker, Yarde soon found a knack of scoring tries which enabled him to earn a scholarship to Whitgift from Gunnersbury Catholic School in Brentford.
But for all the accolades being laid at his door, Yarde is quick to acknowledge the opportunities he has been afforded.
He said: “Not many people get a chance to play at Twickenham and to score three tries is something I will always remember.
“My teammates gave the platform to score and I am surrounded by really good players. I owe so much to them and my coaches for giving me the opportunity in the first place.
“Chris Wilkins at Whitgift has been a great coach. He plays down the importance of the individual over the team and he has the respect of all the players.
“He leaves ego aside and really buys into the whole team ethos. He trains us hard but that’s what makes the team bond stronger. We all work hard for each other.
“For as long as I have played the game I have always been able to score tries. I am not going to run someone over, but I have got a good step and I just always seem to be able to get to the line.
“It is just a knack I have – it is what I love doing and what I want to keep doing.”