The latest edition of the Six Nations gets underway on Friday night in a heavyweight clash between France and Ireland in Marseille but one former Bedford School student has Saturday afternoon in Rome on his radar.
Fraser Dingwall, now 24, was a student at Bedford School from 2013 to 2017 and was announced as one of five uncapped players in England’s matchday squad for their Six Nations opener this weekend.
“Dingwall will bring a different dimension”, says England head coach, Steve Borthwick who led England to a World Cup semi-final at the back end of 2023 in France before succumbing 16-15 to eventual winners, South Africa.
The starting line ups for the clash at the Stadio Olimpico have been announced, and it has been confirmed Dingwall will start at inside centre.
Stars align for Fraser
The England rugby team has had somewhat of an upheaval since October with talisman Owen Farrell taking a year long break from the international game, which may end up being longer given he has committed to Racing 92 in France from July.
Fellow fly-half, Marcus Smith is injured as is centre, Manu Tuilagi and this combined with the need to bring in fresh blood at the start of another four year cycle has opened the door for Northampton Saints centre, Dingwall.
Dingwall is not the first and probably won’t be the last former Bedford School alumni to pull on the white jersey, with Director of Rugby, James Hinkins applauding Dingwall for his latest achievement.
“Fraser’s general demeanour and approach to professional sport is truly inspirational and you can certainly see the connection he still has with the school. We wish him the very best of luck with his full England debut.”
It’s the latest step in what has already been an action packed and successful career after 118 appearances for Northampton Saints across six seasons as well as appearing at England age group levels, including captaining England Under-20s.
Fraser attended Bedford School on a sports scholarship in 2013 at the age of 14 when his coach at the Northampton Saints Academy suggested that a school advanced in rugby would help nurture Fraser’s natural talent for the game.
Fraser explained, “I don’t think I would be where I am today if I did not have the school circuit and dedicated support.
“I 100% believe that the four years I spent at Bedford School were a massive contributor to my career. The scholarship gave me the opportunity to be there; it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me”.
You can watch Dingwall’s full debut live against Italy on BBC One on Saturday afternoon with kick off at 2.15pm.