Halifax-born Ali Crossdale, a product of Sedbergh School, is studying real estate at University College of Estate Management. He played for England U16 and U17 before being included in the U18 squad for the South Africa Tour in August 2015, winning his first two caps at that level and scoring a maiden try off the bench against South Africa. He took A-levels in chemistry, geography and psychology, having previously attended Brooklands Primary School, Sale and Altrincham Grammar School where he captained the first XV for five years. While there, Scott Meakin and Kevin Morris assisted his early development.
He also led Cheshire U15 and U16 and Sale Sharks Academy before switching to the Newcastle Falcons Academy and signing for Saracens in June last year. Ali said: "Having had an amazing two years at Sedbergh, I am extremely excited to be joining Saracens. I've always dreamt about playing professional rugby but it was only when I was offered a contract that the reality of it all hit me."
Ali began playing with Bowdon RFC at the age of eight and spent six years there. Ali said: “As a sport-loving child, I spent many hours in the garden playing everything imaginable. However, after passing and kicking a rugby ball with my dad Adrian it was clear where my passions were. He had played both union and league in Yorkshire and represented the county at U18 level. "Adrian and Helen, my mum, have always supported me and been to every game they could physically make it to.
“I love how decision making is vital along with the huge physical challenge and the massive element of teamwork. Simon Mullholland was a huge motivator for me as director of rugby at Sedbergh, Tony Bennett, my first coach, was a big inspiration and Jason Duffy, an RFU Community Coach, has always provided support and constructive criticism. From U16 level, John Fletcher and all the England coaches and those at Saracens have always encouraged me to play to my limits.
“I would love to continue developing my game and pushing myself as far as I can to progress through the elite pathway." Ali, who can play at fly half or full back, helped Sedbergh to win four trophies at sevens two years ago, having contributed to a series of Cheshire Cup triumphs while at school in Altrincham.
A former member of Manchester United Football Academy, he especially savours two matches – playing for the England U16 team that beat hosts Wales by 24-22 in 2014 and Sedbergh’s 37-34 victory over Wellington College at Broadstreet RFC. He scored two tries on his England U20 debut against Samoa in this year’s World Championship in Georgia but suffered a hamstring strain that ruled him out of the rest of the tournament. His best rugby mate Alistair Wealthall is now at Birmingham University and his favourite players are Dan Carter “for his dedication and commitment to the game”, Owen Farrell “for always keeping cool and managing the game expertly” and Jason Robinson “purely for his amazing footwork and speed”. Like legions of Sedberghians, Ali rates Buskholme, the school’s first-team pitch, as his best venue.
His favourite holiday destination is the United States. As for music, his top artist is Fetty Wap and he rates Shutter Island as the best film he has seen. Peaky Blinders is the TV drama he likes best and FIFA 17 is his most played computer game. Steak and sweet potato fries are his number one dish.
10 points – 2T
2017 World Championship - Sam
5 points – 1T
2015 SA Tour: SA ‘A’, SA(R) 2016 SA Tour: F, SA
Last updated: 19 June 2017