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Ipswich rugby star Simon Uzokwe handed two-week trial with National 1 team Darlington Mowden Park

Simon Uzokwe

Simon Uzokwe

Ipswich rugby union star Simon Uzokwe is aiming to be a success on and off the pitch as he plots his new life in the North East.

The 18-year-old, an integral part of Ipswich’s London 2 North title-winning campaign, has been offered a two-week trial with newly-promoted National One team, Darlington Mowden Park.

Should he be successful, the move would be a perfect fit with the hooker getting ready to embark on a pharmacy degree at university in either Durham or Sunderland.

Uzokwe, who was spotted by a scout while playing for Eastern Counties against Durham earlier this year, said: “It will be another new challenge, along with a new start living away from home, and I am more excited than nervous.

“It was a good test playing against National 3 and 2 players in the Eastern Counties games, and it will be a big step up.”

Uzokwe, a former Ipswich School pupil, spent three years with the Northampton Saints Academy before joining Ipswich last year, having played as a junior at Humber Doucy Lane for several years.

He will head to his two-week trial full of confidence but well aware of his academic commitments too.

“The season before last, I was at Northampton Saints’ academy and it was the stage where players were starting to be awarded contracts, so there was pressure,” he explained.

“I went to Ipswich and had a great year. I took a step back but there was still pressure, although it was a different type, as you are playing with your mates.

“But I was more relaxed and able to develop as a player and it helped me make the transition from prop to hooker.”

He added: “With my dad being a doctor, there has always been a bit of pressure on me getting a good education, so hopefully I come out of university with a good degree and be able to play at a good level.”

Darlington lost just one game last season and Uzokwe has been impressed by the set-up there.

“There has been a lot of good things written and I understand they play fast rugby, which is how we played at Ipswich,” he said.

“They play at the Northern Echo Arena, which is the second-biggest rugby union venue in the country behind Twickenham, and it would be great to play there.

“There is a similar feel to what is taking place at Bury St Edmunds and they are getting results.”

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