Former Telford College sports student Kai Owen has earned a contract with the senior squad at top flight rugby club Worcester Warriors.
The club said the 21-year-old’s elevation was reward for his ‘resilience’.
Kai made his senior debut as a replacement in the memorable European Challenge Cup victory over Stade Francais in Paris in October 2018 and was capped by England Under-20s later that season.
Speaking on the official warriors.co.uk website, director of rugby Alan Solomons said: “Kai has shown great resilience in overcoming early setbacks to establish himself as a leading Academy player, who has represented England at Under-20s level.
“He is an athletic loosehead prop who relishes the challenges of scrummaging and, in the opportunities given to him this season, has shown that he has the ability to cut it at top level.
“He loves the club and will be an integral part of the team going forward. As with all our other young home-grown players, I look forward to working with him.”
Kai said: “Training with the first team has given me a lot of confidence that has been vital for stepping up and showcasing what I can do.”
“It has also enabled me to get to know the senior players more and I am extremely excited to now be stepping up. It has always been my dream since I can remember to play professional rugby.”
Kai, who completed a level three diploma in sport during his time at the college, began his rugby playing career with Telford Hornets – a club he has retained a close association with. He has also played for Newport.
Speaking about his time at the college, he said: “I couldn’t have selected a better course to develop me as a whole person, and not just academically.”