Stortford star Nick Hankin gets England Counties call-up for Georgia tour
Bishop's Stortford star Nick Hankin has been called up for England Counties' tour of Georgia.
The 27-year-old fleet-footed full back, who can also play on the wing, is one of 16 new caps in the 24-man squad and the only Hertfordshire representative.
England Counties will face Georgia in two matches, on Friday June 7 and Tuesday June 11. The tour party will depart for Tbilisi on Monday June 3 and return on Wednesday June 12.
The call-up is deserved recognition for Hankin, who has scored 101 tries in the last six seasons, including nine in Stortford's most recent National League 1 campaign, in which he was the Silver Leys club's third highest try scorer behind wingers Joss Linney (14) and Rob Duff (10).
He told the Indie: "Ever since I first started playing for Bishop's Stortford and played for Herts, it was always an ambition of mine to play for England Counties.
"I've had a couple of seasons where I've pulled my hamstring and been concussed in the last games of the season, which hindered my county campaign.
"I feel lucky and grateful to have the opportunity to wear the rose in Georgia and to play against a country that is growing in the sport."
Hankin, who went to Great Baddow High School in Chelmsford, lives with his girlfriend in Felsted and teaches maths at Hockerill Anglo European College.
England Counties is the flagship team of the community game in England, offering players from National League 1 and below the opportunity to represent their country. Seventeen of the squad played in National League 1 – where Stortford ply their trade – in 2018-19.
The 24 players are drawn from 10 counties and 15 clubs. Kent is the best represented county, with six men, while Blackheath and Hull Ionians are the joint best represented clubs, with three each.
This season's team manager, Dan Cook, will be looking to keep up the high standards after last season’s successful tour of Romania.
“The England Counties team is the pinnacle of representative rugby in the community game and I believe that we have selected the strongest team we can for this massive challenge in Georgia," said Cook.
"Passion and pride shine through when the Georgians play rugby and we need a squad that will not only match this but have the capabilities to overcome Georgia in their own back yard."
ENGLAND COUNTIES SQUAD FOR GEORGIA
Tom Williams* (Kent & Blackheath), George Porter* (Gloucs & Cinderford), Henry Paul* (Surrey & Esher), Danny Herriott* (Kent & Blackheath), Nathan Morris* (Kent & Old Elthamians), Neil Briggs* (Cheshire & Sale FC), Bob Birtwell (Lancs & Sedgley Park), Joe Makin (Yorks & Hull Ionians), John Kelly* (Devon & Plymouth Albion), Ollie Hodgson (Durham & Darlington Mowden Park), Andy Hughes (Lancs & Sale FC), Harry Hone (Gloucs & Cinderford)
Stephen Leonard* (Kent & Cambridge University), Jack Daly (Kent & Blackheath), Jack Oulton* (Cornwall & Redruth), Dan Mugford (Devon & Plymouth), Greg Lound* (Surrey & Rosslyn Park), James Tincknell* (Yorks & Hull), Kieron Moffat* (Kent & OEs), Lewis Minikin (Yorks & Hull), Callum McKenzie* (Durham & DMP), Craig Holland* (Surrey & Chinnor), Nick Hankin* (Hertfordshire & Bishop's Stortford), Alex Ducker* (Cornwall & Camborne).
* = new caps