Teenager's excitement at joining Barbarians' Zimbabwe tour

A Chichester teenager is one of five '“ the highest number from any one school '“ to be selected for the elite Barbarians rugby squad off to tour Zimbabwe, the first tour of its kind there since political unrest began.

Prop forward Jacob Poulton, 17, and fellow Portsmouth Grammar School pupils Freddie Hooper, Charlie Howard, Alex Wilcockson and Cameron Prentice, all 18, have already turned out twice for the independent schools’ national 40-strong side.

They helped smash the Irish Exiles at Lytham St Anne’s by a 50-point lead and narrowly lost to the Welsh Crawshays by just four points at Port Talbot. Their next fixture is against Cobham, last season’s under-17 national club champions.

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“The situation in Zimbabwe is delicate but I personally believe this is a wonderful opportunity to experience a different environment and not one to pass up. We are very excited by the prospect,” said Year 12 pupil Jacob.

Poulton plays for Chichester and has previously turned out for London Irish, Hampshire and Havant. The school’s director of sport, Chris Dossett, said: “To have one pupil selected for this elite squad is fantastic but to have five is exceptional and they are all to be congratulated.”

A-level student Poulton will be off to Africa again in the summer – on the grammar school’s co-ed rugby, hockey and netball tour.