RICHARD Capstick has come a long way from playing rugby in his garden as a child.

The 18-year-old back row forward has been named in England’s squad for the Under-20 Six Nations, which begins today.

Having started playing at Taunton Rugby Club and Heathfield Community School, Capstick has progressed up the ladder, internationally and domestically – making his first team debut for Exeter Chiefs in November.

And now he hopes to help England reclaim the U20 title, with their crunch match with France on familiar ground next Saturday (ko 12.05pm) – Exeter’s Sandy Park.

Capstick told the County Gazette: “It’s really exciting; you watch the Six Nations on TV growing up.

“It’s the best tournament in the world – very competitive, national pride at stake, it’s just so special.”

Capstick made his England U18 debut at the age of 16, away to Wales, and now he’s revelling in playing at the next level up.

“I’m the youngest one [in the squad], but I want to compete, get selected and prove myself.”

That’s exactly what he’s doing at Exeter, having started out against Bath in the Premiership Cup on November 3 and scored his maiden try against Harlequins the week after.

For now he’s focused on continuous improvement and learning from his team-mates, as he’s done since joining Exeter’s Academy aged 14.

Before that he was crafted in Somerset – at Heathfield, Taunton RFC and even at home.

It would be fair to say that the Capstick family is ‘rugby mad’... he played alongside his brothers Mike and Matt, and was coached by his dad John from an early age.

“I’m really thankful for my family, they’ve been so supportive,” he said.

“I’m so grateful to my mum and dad; they never pressure me, just encourage me to enjoy myself.

“I grew up playing rugby in the back garden, and obviously there’s a lot of competition between brothers.

“I saw my brothers playing at our local club [Taunton RFC] and I wanted to join in.

“I played there from age five to Under-14s, and it was always just the nicest club, so supportive and welcoming.

“Heathfield was great [too] – rugby wasn’t massive there, but [coach] Andy Fielding gave us great opportunities.”

Now that Capstick has made the leap to Premiership and international rugby, he only wants more.

“It’s opened my eyes to how much I want it as a career.

“If I work hard and play well, hopefully more opportunities will come.”