Sam Underhill committed to England, Ospreys amid Wales talk
ESPN Staff
May 1, 2016
© Stu Forster/Getty Images

England prospect Sam Underhill intends to see out his three-year contract with the Ospreys, but has insisted he will not turn his back on the land of his birth.

Underhill has been a revelation in south Wales since relocating from Gloucester to read economics at Cardiff University, and Eddie Jones has been in contact with the 19-year-old flanker.

His form for the Ospreys has led to speculation in Wales that he could switch allegiances in 2018 when he qualifies on residency grounds, but following his side's 40-27 defeat of Cardiff Blues at the Millennium Stadium he moved to quell such talk.

Indeed, Underhill could end the season as an England tourist, either with Jones' senior side in Australia, or the Saxons in South Africa.

"As the boys constantly ribbing me for it in training would testify, I am definitely English," Underhill told the Sunday Times. "Apart from this season, I have only ever played rugby in England.

"Without being in any way arrogant or ahead of myself, my ambition is to play for England. It's an emotional link. You grow up as kids, see guys wearing the rose and think that's what you want to do when you are older.

"Qualifying for Wales has not crossed my mind."

On his international prospects and contact with Jones, Underhill added: "If you are going to be picked for something like that, it's because you are doing something right, so you don't want to get distracted.

"The majority of the conversation was about breakdowns, technical stuff more than anything."

Wales captain Sam Warburton came face-to-face with Underhill for the Blues on Saturday, and believes the youngster could develop into an openside to rival the likes of David Pocock.

"He's in that southern hemisphere mould for a No. 7. He's a cracking athlete," Warburton said.

© ESPN Staff

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