It is something of a homecoming for the youngster who, as a fly-half, was a key player in our 2018-19 AASE-winning season as a 17- and 18-year old, sharing the stage with the likes of British Lion Louis Rees-Zammit and Italian international scrum-half Stephen Varney, both now of Gloucester Rugby.
Since leaving Hartpury, Mathews has been contracted to the Northampton Saints as an academy player, picking up a couple of first team appearances during his time at the Gardens. However, much of his time in the East Midlands was spent on loan as we know to our cost, with Tommy having appeared against the Red & Blacks for both Ampthill and Bedford Blues – with both Championship matches ending in Hartpury defeat!
He is currently fully occupied with the England squad which is contesting the 2021 Under-20 Six Nations tournament in Cardiff. Interestingly, Tommy is qualified to play for more than one team in the competition having picked up Under-18 caps for Wales, including a game versus England which was played at Hartpury. He is joined in the England squad by current Hartpury student, lock-forward Arthur Clark, and there is a very good chance that, at some point, both players will line up in the same fifteen for Hartpury University RFC next season.
Since switching to England the Hampshire-born Mathews has seen plenty of action, having featured heavily in the warm-up fixtures – including a big win over Wales – prior to the tournament start. He has seen game time off the bench in both of England’s competitive matches so far, a come-from-behind win over France followed by a slightly more comfortable victory over Scotland last Friday. We hope to see him get further action in the remaining games, starting with Ireland this week.
Hartpury Director of Rugby, John Barnes, welcomed the player back to the Alpas, saying “We are very pleased to have Tommy back with us after his earlier successful spell in the Hartpury College AASE squad, during which time he gained his Wales Under-18 call up.”
“After a couple of years at Saints, and having made the current England 20s squad, he’s developing into an outstanding player and we are looking forward to helping him continue that progress within our Championship set-up.”