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Friends in international head to head

Firm friends, Math Jones and Mitchell Newell will face each other in their toughest challenge on Sunday as Math pulls on the red jersey for Wales and Mitchell the blue for Scotland in the U18 international development game in preparation for possible selection in the Six Nations Competition.

The two backs joined Gordon’s Sixth Form under the Harlequins Partnership Programme in September and were assigned the same boarding house, Balmoral. They also attend many of the same lessons together and of course their rugby training for both Gordon’s in the ACE League and Harlequins U18 team.

They were selected to play for their country last weekend and will travel to Wales today to prepare for their big game on Sunday.

Fly half Math was born and bred in Wales. Rugby has been in his blood since the age of six (although for five years he was signed to Swansea City Football Academy!). His selection for Wales is a dream come true: “I found out on Sunday last week. It was mad, I was buzzing. So happy” he said.

For Mitchell, a winger, it’s been a meteoric rise, having only taken up the sport three years ago. The former swimmer, who was in touching distance of national swimming competitions, gave it up to play rugby for Chichester where he was discovered by Harlequins. “It just progressed from there” he said, adding that his call up had come as a surprise -  “I was quite shocked because I am quite new to rugby so I am still learning.”

Their great friendship will be cast aside on Sunday as they compete against each other for their country’s although Mitch laughed: “It will be funny, a good laugh on the pitch”.

He continued: “Leading up to the game you get into the mentality that you are going out and you’re going to beat the other team. You don’t really think about who is playing in the other team. You are just narrow-visioned. You have your team around you and you fight for them until the final whistle and then obviously you go back to being mates.

Math agreed: “It’s just part of the game. You have to get into a certain mentality otherwise you would get hurt on the pitch. But you don’t hold grudges after the game.”

Director of Sport Jamie Harrison said: “Both these boys thoroughly deserve their call up. We will all be rooting for them”.