The accolade of being the youngest player to appear for Gloucester since the game went professional in 1997 was just the start for Ollie Thorley, who was in the run-on side for every Six Nations match at U20 level last season and figured four times in the World Rugby Championship in Manchester. As a student at Cheltenham College in history, politics and geography, he had played the full 80 minutes on his Gloucester debut in the LV=Cup game against Northampton Saints in November 2013 at the age of 17 years and 56 days when partnering 2003 RWC winner Mike Tindall at centre.
The Gloucester Academy member said: “It was an incredible experience. I don’t think I played too badly but it was just fantastic to be there alongside Mike (Tindall) and Freddie Burns.” Ollie beat the ‘youngest mark’ set in 2012/13 by Billy Burns, Freddie’s brother, by 71 days. He first played when seven at Stow-on-the-Wold RFC in 2003 and a year later at Cheltenham College Junior School. Ollie had also attended St Paul’s Cathedral School in London and will soon read history at Durham University.
Ollie continued: “In terms of mentors, my dad is my first port of call. Wayne Loxton introduced me to the game at Stow-on-the-Wold RFC when I was seven and Matt Dawson and Dick Lewis assisted me at junior school. Tom Richardson, head of rugby at Cheltenham College, helped me both rugby-wise as well as with everything off the pitch. Richard Aikenhead and Olly Morgan have also helped me a lot at school.
“I have been very fortunate to have the detailed and constant coaching of Peter Buxton and and Tim Taylor at Gloucester. John Fletcher, in the England set up, has given me some incredible opportunities and he is always honest with me about where I can improve my game. I should like to play professionally and push to reach the peak of the game while combining a university course in history. Outside rugby, I’m a music fan, also read about current affairs and history and love pizza, Nando’s and sushi.”
As a rounded and highly promising sportsman, he was a first team hockey player at his college as well as being involved in waterboarding and doing athletics, at which he has represented Gloucestershire. He also enjoys studying 19th century British politics. His great uncle Martin Britt played football for West Ham United in the Bobby Moore era and, as for role models, he lists Jamie Roberts, Brian O’Driscoll, Conrad Smith and, of course, Mike Tindall. A former England U17 player, he rates Kingsholm as ‘unique.’
2016 S, It, I, W, F World Championship – It, S(R), SA(R), I(R)
2014 SA Tour: F, SA(R)
Last updated: 27 June 2016