BRADLEY’S Rondene Johnson is aiming to take another step on the road towards England rugby union recognition when he plays for the North of England Under 16s against Yorkshire’s Under 17 tomorrow.

The 16-year-old Mirfield Free Grammar School student, who began his career in junior rugby at YMCA and Huddersfield, has been selected as one of 30 players who will take on the county team at Leeds University Sports Ground.

A good performance could see Johnson being drafted into the England Under 16 set-up, and gain international honours against Italy and Wales.

Johnson started playing rugby at Laund Hill in 2004 before moving to Lockwood Park the following year, after which he was snapped up by Leeds Carnegie and put on a scholarship scheme with the Premier League club, and is now stepping up to their Under 18 squad.

A prop forward, Johnson is already a regular member of the Yorkshire set-up, so he call-up to the North of England side is the natural progression.

“I’ve been playing for the Yorkshire side at both Under 15 and Under 16 level for the last two seasons,” said Johnson, who is currently studying English, Maths, Science, Art and Sports Science at MFG.

“I recently had my first session with Leeds Carnegie’s Under 18s which was hard stepping up from Under 16 level, but I’m looking forward to playing for the North on Sunday.

“I know quite a few of the lads selected including Daniel Grange, Declan Dunn, Jack Barnard, Paul Hill, Sam Allen and Harry Skelton, all of whom I know from Leeds Carnegie.”

Johnson can play on either side of the front row of the scrum, but admits to preferring wearing the No1 shirt.

“I’m happy wherever I play, but I do prefer playing at loose-head,” admitted Johnson, who is a regular scorer for the county having notched tries against Lancashire and Cheshire.

“Hopefully I can impress the selectors, although the England coach has already told me that he thinks I’ve got a great chance of being selected for the national squad.”