Academy graduate Harrison steps up06/09/2015
Former Academy player Harrison Berresford has progressed to the senior ranks at Jersey RFC.
The 18-year-old completed his time at Hautlieu School this summer and has now signed a contract with JRFC that will enable him to combine rugby and further education.
After obtaining the required 'A' level grades, Harrison is commencing a two-year foundation degree in Sports Management at Highlands College, and will combine his studies with training alongside JRFC's professional first team squad.
Jersey Chairman Bill Dempsey said he was very pleased that Harrison would have the opportunity to emulate fellow Islanders Jack Burroughs and Ed Dawson, who are both full-time professionals (Harrison and Jack were 'neighbours' in the recent 1st XV squad photo - pictured below).
"Our aim has always been to have the best local players in the squad, and this route provides a pathway for them that also includes education," he said. "Previously we have had talented young players who have left Jersey in order to study, but there are also degree courses available here, and this shows that there is also an on-Island option for Academy players to step up to senior rugby alongside our professional players.
"There's a lot of hard work ahead, and the educational side of Harrison's schedule is the priority, but we hope that if he can progress as a player then in future seasons he'll be able to emulate the likes of Jack [Burroughs] and Ed [Dawson], and other local boys like Jon Brennan, Myles Landick and Dave Felton who have played for Jersey in the Greene King IPA Championship."
Harrison has played for his Academy age group at JRFC since the Under 10s. Last season he was selected for Hampshire Under 18s, and this led on to regional honours and finally selection for the England Counties Under 18s, for whom he made appearances last season (pictured below) in wins against Ireland Clubs and France Regional Academies.
As part of the step up to senior rugby, the intention is that Harrison will play at hooker rather than his previous position of prop. He has been training with the 1st XV squad as part of their pre-season programme.
"It's been a gruelling summer of training, but it's been going really well and it's great to have the chance to develop in a professional environment while still studying," Harrison said. "The degree course is important for the future, as no rugby player's career lasts forever."