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England's Harry Randall not letting size hold him back

By PA
6'5, 117kg Jannes Kirsten of Exeter Chiefs is tackled by Harry Randall (Mullan/Getty Images)

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Harry Randall may be the smallest player on the field when England collide with Ireland next weekend but the Bristol scrum-half is determined to continue punching above his weight.

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An important moment in Randall’s four-cap international career arrived against Wales in round three when he was chosen to start ahead of Test centurion Ben Youngs, ramping up their duel for the number nine jersey.

The 24-year-old has risen to the top despite standing 5ft 8in tall and weighing 11st 6lb – a modest frame for a modern rugby professional, even a half-back.

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A player described as a “tough bugger” by Bristol director of rugby Pat Lam, Randall is finding ways to make his attributes work for him as he looks to retain his place for Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations title clash against Ireland at Twickenham.

“I have heard it a lot before about my size, but it doesn’t really matter to me what people think as long as the people around me trust me and I back myself,” Randall said.

“Everyone is going to have an opinion, I have just got to knuckle down and use to my advantage and be as strong as I can in all areas.

“I have people say that size could be an issue, but I back myself as long as I work hard.

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“I am still working hard to get stronger, fitter and faster and all the things that will help me out in that area.”

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In an interview with RugbyPass, former Harlequins coach Iestyn Thomas, who used to coach Randall as a schoolboy said of his former student’s size: “He was in the fifth year playing against players in the Upper Sixth and that was highly unusual at Llandovery and not only did he cement a place you could see he had something special.

“I never had any concerns about his size. He has big heart and really brave with a really good tackle technique that you can see to this day when he bring down Premiership players much who are much bigger. It doesn’t matter who is coming at him he stops them.”

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Thomas believes a small scrum half like Faf de Klerk who won the 2019 World Cup with South Africa proved size isn’t everything. Thomas added: “If you see Harry play for a few minutes you realise that size isn’t a factor and he can handle anything.”

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