IF THE rugby career of Corsham teenager James Catlin goes as far as he hopes, he may owe a debt of thanks to former England captain Lawrence Dallaglio.

The England U16 international has become the first young player to be handed a scholarship by the Dallaglio Foundation.

Number eight Catlin, who plays for Corsham U16s and Bath’s Elite Player Development Group, will begin a sports scholarship at Millfield School in September and his development will also be assisted by the Dallaglio Foundation’s new scholarship programme.

The 16-year-old got the chance to meet England and Wasps legend Dallaglio in London last month and says it was an inspirational experience.

“Lawrence explained what his charity was all about and what they did. I think he wanted to make sure I was the right candidate.’’ said Catlin, who currently goes to St Gregory’s School in Bath.

“It was amazing and it didn’t feel real at the time. I still don’t think it does now but it was the cherry on the cake.”

As a Dallaglio scholar, Catlin will also help the foundation’s Rugby for Change project, which works with youngsters who lack the support to make the most of their rugby talents.

The youngster is excited about developing his own talents at Millfield and said: “I remember going to play there with my school when I was in Year Seven and there was a sense of awe when you walked through there.

“The facilities and everything else were great and I knew back then I’d love to go to such a prestigious school.

“I love rugby and whatever happens, I hope I can always stay involved in the sport.”

The Dallaglio Foundation will help pay for Catlin to go on tour to South Africa with Millfield next year.

Last month, Catlin made his England U16 debut in a 31-20 win over Italy U17 in Parma before also starring in a 39-34 triumph over Wales U16 at Wellington College four days later.

He also helped Corsham’s U16s to the Dorset & Wilts county title.