26 October 2019 14:36

England Ruaridh McConnochie Wales

Sam Underhill has proved himself to be a formidable player so far in the Rugby World Cup 2019. But the rising star of rugby spent a lot of his childhood in our very own Cambridgeshire. The 23-year-old grew up in the north Cambridgeshire city of Peterborough, where he lived with his family until he moved away to Gloucester. around the age of 10. He grew up on the Copeland estate of South Bretton, attending Longthorpe Primary School.

And just so happened our reporter Fiona Leishman lived across the road from him. Sam was always known as a rough and tumble type of kid at school, so it's no surprise that he's taken to rugby like a fish to water. He was the youngest of four children, with three older sisters to try and keep him out of trouble, and his family always had two Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs, which his dad took running with him in the evenings. It's a bit strange to look at the TV now, and see someone that I remember as a cheeky kid growing up, someone who came to my birthday parties - whether they were in the local Copeland Centre with a disco, or at Tallington Lakes to go tobogganing. The 6 foot 1 inch back-row player may look like a bit baby-faced, but he's proven himself a formidable opponent so far, making 20 tackles in the quarter-final victory, helping England to beat Australia 40-16 - more than any other player on the field.

With only 13 test caps and nine starts to his name, Underhill is definitely making a name for himself. He's played for Bath, Gloucester, the Ospreys and now England, having made his debut for Gloucester at just 17-years-old in the Anglo-Welsh Cup, before making his Premiership debut at 18. When he joined the Welsh Pro12 regional team the Ospreys he made his debut against Ulster, and won Man-of-the-match in his first start for the team in a game against Munster. He moved on to join the English side Bath in 2017, and was also called up to the senior England squad by Eddie Jones for the summer tour of Argentina, continuing to play as part of the 2018 Six nations squad. Get the biggest Daily stories by email Subscribe Thank you for subscribing See our privacy notice Could not subscribe, try again later Invalid Email Former Gloucester stars and World Cup winners Phil Vickery and Andy Gomarsall have been among those to reveal their pride after England's famous semi-final win over New Zealand today. A 19-7 win over the All Blacks booked England's place in the final for the first time since 2007 when Vickery captained the side against South Africa. He wrote on Twitter: "What an amazing performance.. to say I'm proud is an understatement...now go and finish the job." It was the first time New Zealand had lost a World Cup game since they were beaten by France in the 2007 quarter-finals, ending their hopes of winning a third successive tournament. England will now have a chance to emulate Clive Woodward's heroes of 2003 when Gloucester's Vickery, Gomarsall and Trevor Woodman were part of the squad. Gomarsall said: "Epic! So proud. What a performance!" The former Gloucester scrum-half was also among those to praise England flanker Sam Underhill, who grew up in Gloucester and played rugby for Longlevens and Sir Thomas Rich's School. "WOW what a tackler," said Gomarsall. (Image: Getty Images) Former Gloucester scrum-half Rory Lawson said he was "unreal" while Rupert Harden described him as "incredible" and "dominant." England head coach Eddie Jones was also hailed by Gloucester chief executive Lance Bradley, and the club's former players Jim Hamilton and Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, who said he was "too intelligent for the ABs." Current Gloucester prop Jamal Ford-Robinson said: "It's coming home." Take a look at the reaction from Twitter below: