East Devon teenage trio off to Japan for major rugby tournament

PUBLISHED: 08:44 02 April 2018 | UPDATED: 09:28 02 April 2018

Luke Bralsford, who is part of the Exeter College / Exeter Chiefs rugby team set to travel to Japan.

Luke Bralsford, who is part of the Exeter College / Exeter Chiefs rugby team set to travel to Japan.


A trio of East-Devon based teenagers are all set for what will be an experience of a lifetime later this month when they take part in a rugby tournament in Japan, playing for the Exeter College Exeter Chiefs rugby academy team, who are to take part in the Sanix World Youth Invitational Tournament in Japan.

Archie Cruze, who is part of the Exeter College / Exeter Chiefs rugby team set to travel to Japan.Archie Cruze, who is part of the Exeter College / Exeter Chiefs rugby team set to travel to Japan.

One of the trio is Luke Bralsford, a 17-year-old, who lives with his family in Wilmington. Luke began playing rugby at the tender age of five when his father Alex was coming to the end of his own rugby playing career and set up an Under-7s team at Honiton Rugby Club where he was also the club’s head coach.

Luke continued to play for the Lacemen before switching to Cullompton RFC as a 15-year-old where he continued to play both in the centres and back row.

The coaching he received from both clubs was helped him gain the confidence to play at this tournament and the determination to win

Luke is really keen to prove himself against the best of the world and experience top level rugby. He can’t thank Exeter College enough for this opportunity and considers it very much a privilege to be chosen to play.

In terms of developing his rugby, Luke is keen to get as far and as high as possible in the sport – his parents, dad Alex and mum Karen - are extremely proud of him and the commitment he and fellow team mates have put in to raising money and training for the trip.

Another of the trio of East-Devon based teenagers involved with the trip to Japan is Archie Cruze.

Sixteen-year-old Archie began playing rugby as an 11-year-old when a student King’s School Ottery St Mary, where he was spotted by a Sidmouth RFC coach who encouraged him to join the club and play in the junior teams.

He continued to play for Sidmouth until he was 14 when the club won the Devon championship for their age group for the first time.

Archie moved on to play for Topsham and, was once again a county champion when the Tops won the Devon Under-16 title. He also plays sevens rugby and has been an integral part of three successive Devon Sevens’ title success’s.

Archie’s dad Rob is a huge rugby fan and has supported and encouraged Archie throughout his development. In addition that Sidmouth RFC coach, Ray Syradd, and others at Topsham have also been huge supporters and helped guide him into the fine rugby prospect he is today.

Archie is most looking forward to the challenge and the experience of playing rugby at such a high standard on the international stage.

Archie, who lives at the family home in Payhembury, is enjoying the high level of training and rugby that he is currently experiencing and wants to be the best player that he can be, and is always looking to improve his game.

The third of the East Devon lads off to Japan is Dominic Pierson-Lovesey. The outside centre, who lives in Taleford, started playing rugby when he was seven, and has the strong backing of his friends and family and he looks to make his mark on the international stage. He says: “I am very excited – this will give me a look-in on how other international rugby teams play and give me great playing experience.”

The Sanix World Youth Invitational Tournament in Japan will see Exeter Chiefs representing England as one of 16 other teams from various countries who will battle it out over 10 days of action to be crowned winners of what is deemed to be the pinnacle of the sport in age grade rugby.

Held in late April on the island of Kyushu and hosted by the Japanese Rugby Football Union, the event will decide which team is the best in the world!

Exeter Chiefs were last selected to attend the tournament in 2009 when they came fourth and, of the current Chiefs 1st XV, Dave Ewers, Ben Moon and Sam Hill have previously played in the tournament which is generally regarded as being one that showcases the next generation of exceptional talent. As winners of the country’s college’s league last season, it is expected that the team will fly the flag for England with aplomb. Accommodation and food in Japan is supported by the organisers. The cost of sending a squad of 29 players and five coaching staff is expected to be £40,000 to cover flights, transfers and playing kit and the boys and their families and friends are engaged in various fundraising activities to help find a proportion of the costs.

There’s a separate article on Dominic Pierson-Lovesey available at www.midweekherald.co.uk/sport/teenage-rugby-player-from-devon-off-to-compete-in-japan-1-5454533

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