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Friday, 25th January 2019
Michael Cooke joined Andover Rugby club at the very end of the U9 season having transferred from football.He went to Portway Junior school and then to John Hanson until mid-year 9, when he moved to The Westgate School in Winchester and met up again with a number of his Andover RFC team-mates on a strong school team. He thrived there and in Year 11 Westgate school went on to win the Hampshire Schools cup.
The Andover underage teams that Michael represented enjoyed a number of successful years where they were ranked 1st or 2nd in the County between Under 12’s and Under 15’s. During this time, he played for the Hampshire County teams and at u/13 he was selected to the London Irish Academy/Development Player Pathway playing every Monday in Farnborough with the bronze group and eventually with the silver group in Hazelwood. At the end of the U15 season, Michael transferred to London Irish Amateurs in Hazelwood where he continued at fly half and they enjoyed a successful but very challenging national fixture list. Michael has always enjoyed playing at fly half and also enjoys kicking where he continues to put in many hours of practice. It was during the U16 season with London Irish that he was introduced to the Irish Exiles/ IQ Development Programme.
After GCSE’s, he won a scholarship to lower 6 th form at Sedbergh School in Cumbria where he is currently in his final year studying for A levels. In lower sixth form (Year 12) he was regular starter on the second XV and he enjoyed regular game time on their very strong 1st XV. Now in year 13, he is a regular starter on the 1st XV where Sedbergh continue to be very strong nationally. They were unbeaten last season in the Daily Mail Trophy and in the Rosslyn Park 7’s and this year they remain unbeaten again with only three games remaining which include Wellington College and Millfield. Last season he transferred from London Irish Academy to Newcastle Falcons Academy who hope to put in a big performance in the U18 Premiership Academy League.
From his time at London Irish Amateurs, he was put forward for trials through the Exiles Programme where he qualified through his Irish born Dad. After successful Exiles trials he played up 1 year and toured Ireland in August 2017 with the U18 Exiles squad. Following a number of IRFU assessment camps in Dublin during Dec 2017, he was selected to start at fly half for the Ireland U18 Clubs squad in 4 test matches, 2 in Dublin against Canada U19’s at end March 2018 and two further tests against England Counties u18’s in early April 2018 in Portsmouth. Again this year, he was selected to the Ireland U18 Clubs squad to play Italy U18’s in Treviso on 3rd November, the Ireland team winning 31-12. His motivation from here is to continue to work hard and hopefully be selected to the Ireland U18 Squad for the April 2019 6 Nations Tournament, being held in Hartpury College.
Very challenging and exciting times for him! Especially as both Ireland rugby and the Ireland pathway are doing so well!