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Former England youth international Will Owen excited by return to Diss Rugby Club

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After a number of years in the professional game, Will Owen is relishing the prospect of pulling on a Diss shirt again.

Owen spent a number of years within the youth ranks at Mackenders before going on to turn out for the likes of Leicester Tigers, Doncaster Knights and most recently, Championship outfit Nottingham.

The flanker also played for England at numerous age group levels, including the under-20s, whom he helped to win the Under-20 Six Nations and finish as runners-up at the 2015 World Cup.

Will Owen has returned to Diss Rugby Club. Picture: Nottingham Rugby/Rod Whetton
Will Owen has returned to Diss Rugby Club. Picture: Nottingham Rugby/Rod Whetton

However, having decided to step away from the higher echelons of rugby for now, the 25-year-old has moved back to Occold and when Covid-19 restrictions allow, he is planning on returning to where it all started.

“I’ve retired from professional rugby. I may take a second look at some stage, but for now I’ve got a job and I’m looking to stay closer to home,” said Owen, who was voted Nottingham’s Players’ Player of the Season for 2019/20.

“The RFU has cut funding for the Championship by 50 per cent because of the pandemic and a lot of clubs are looking to go semi-pro – that is not something I wanted to do.

“Diss is my childhood club and it will be good to play with some familiar faces, as well as my brother (Jack).

“I’ve had some good chats with Nick (Greenhall, head coach) and with his coaches they are doing some great work at the club.

“It’s exciting to be back. When you play rugby as your job of course you enjoy it, but there are some rough stages as well.

“I’m really looking forward to being able to play with my mates, have a few beers afterwards and get back to really enjoying it.”

Owen trained with Diss last year when the lockdown was lifted, although it was very much an adapted format of the game.

It is fast approaching a year since he last played any sort of competitive rugby.

“It’s been really hard,” added the former Framlingham College and Brandeston Hall pupil.

“Rugby has been a big part of my life for so long. It’s been tough not seeing your team-mates and friends. The camaraderie is a big part of rugby and I’ve missed it.

“I can’t wait to be able to get back out there playing – and the fact it will be for Diss is exciting.”

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