Daly chose rugby over cricket because it was clear the two did not mix

Wandsworth Guardian: Aiming big: Croydon-born Elliot Daly has been called up to the England Saxons' squad Aiming big: Croydon-born Elliot Daly has been called up to the England Saxons' squad

England Saxons' latest recruit chose rugby over cricket when it became apparent that the two disciplines could not mix.

Elliot Daly learned his rugby trade at Whitgift School in Croydon and went on to join London Wasps in 2011.

But the 20-year-old, who joins the Saxons squad for the games against Ireland A and Scotland A, is also an accomplished all-round cricketer having represented England at U16 level.

The Croydon-born Daly, who has scored 40 points for the England rugby U20s, said: “I used to play cricket until U16 level where I had to choose between rugby and cricket, I could not do both.

“Playing cricket in the summer and rugby in the winter got a bit tiring. But I enjoyed rugby the most and decided to go with that.

“Rugby and cricket were never going to mix, although I tried to bring some of my rugby play into the game but it did not go down well.

“I remember getting a few warnings off umpires for sledging the batsmen, because I took it took it far sometimes.”

Daly, who has made 46 appearances for the Aviva Premiership London Wasps, got the call-up to the Saxons squad on Tuesday night, and while his professional outlook is solely on the next game, he is excited about the prospect of playing in the England second-string.

“I was a little bit speechless when the call came but probably more excited than anything else.” Daly said.

“It’s a big step forward for certain but it is not something I have been thinking about. I have just been trying to play well and see what comes of it.

“But I’m excited to get down there on Monday and start the camp and see what the Ireland and Scotland game are going to be like.”

The next logical step for Daly is the elite squad, but again he is adamant the opportunity is not at the forefront of his mind.

He said: “Getting in the elite is the main goal for every rugby player in England, but I am just really happy to be in the Saxons, and have the chance to show them what I can do. If anything comes of it, then it does.

“I want to do well for the Wasps, and if I get play for the Saxons, do well for them too.”

Being a product of the grass roots rugby scene around Croydon means Daly, who started out at Beckenham before spells at Dorking and London Scottish, is well aware of the quality in the area, and he has a good idea why that is the case.

“There are a lot of clubs of a high standard in the Croydon area you can go to – and there is a large catchment area for the clubs as well. So there are a lot of options for players coming up through the ranks and the competition is very healthy.

“And the schools are getting better all the time. At Whitgift, everyone is playing for the school and for clubs so it gave you extra game awareness and fitness. It helps you on your path if you want a career playing rugby.”

In his second full season at Adams Park, Daly has helped the London Wasps to fourth in the Aviva Premiership table scoring 21 points in 10 appearances.

But Daly is also reaping the benefits of being surrounded by team-mates with a wealth of international experience.

“I’m learning as much as possible here. I have the likes of back Andrea Masi (72 appearances for Italy) and fly half Stephen Jones (104 appearances for Wales scoring 917 points) around me and they always have time to offer advice or listen to my questions.”

The England Saxons take on Ireland A on January 25 in Galway, before hosting Scotland A at Newcastle Falcons on February 1.

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