COACHES of former Thomas Hardye pupil Orlando Bailey say they always knew the 'phenomenal' player would go all the way in the sport following his call-up up to the England squad ahead of the Six Nations.

The Bath fly-half began his career at the age of six at Dorchester Rugby Club, where coaches spotted his talent from the start. Following his first England call-up they said they've always known he is a 'superstar' in the making.

At 14-years-old Bailey joined Bath’s academy and is considered one of the side’s biggest prospects having starred for the side despite their poor form in the Gallagher Premiership this season.

Dorset Echo: n Orlando Bailey made his professional debut for Bath 				            Picture: MIKE SPRULES

The 20-year-old’s inclusion in the 36-man squad that will meet in Brighton next week for a five-day training camp ahead of the Six Nations comes as no surprise to his former school coach.

Geraint Hughes said: “He is a phenomenal kid and right from the first day when he came here you could see he was going to go all the way.

“It was obvious because he is very skilled on the pitch and off it, he is incredibly humble and ridiculously talented - a superstar.

“This season he has been a shining light at Bath in what has been a poor season by their standards.

“It is all his own actions he’s always practising and although his time here only played a small part in that seeing his name pop up sent shivers down my spine.”

Prior to his move to Bath’s academy Bailey trained and played at Dorchester Rugby Club for several years and the team there are very proud of what he has achieved.

Coach Mike Sprules, said: “Having first started coaching ‘Landy’ at the end of his U9’s season, my first thought was that I had never seen a boy of that age tackle like that.

“He would also be practising his kicking at that young age, kicking with his weaker foot, passing off his weaker hand. This enabled him to have fewer flaws in his game.”

Dorset Echo: Orlando Bailey at Dorchester, picture: Simon Marshall

“Since I have known him all he wanted to do was play for Bath, something that you would hear regularly on a Sunday morning. This makes it all the more surreal when it happens to a lad from your own club, a player you have coached.”

Dorchester Rugby Club President, Bob Andrews said: “The club would like to congratulate Orlando on his selection, he is a fine young man and a wonderful ambassador for Dorchester Rugby Football Club .

“He is a reminder to everyone that grassroots rugby is at the heart of Rugby Union, it is the dedication of our wonderful volunteers that provides players for the elite game.”

Club Chairman, Tony Foot, added: “This is a very proud moment for the Club and its thriving Junior section. Orlando Bailey started with us I believe at under 7's and stood out even then.

"I was lucky enough to coach his older brother Caspar who was himself a very fine player but when Landy came along everyone expected great things.

"I remember watching him one Sunday morning when he was just 12 and someone asked me how good did I think he was.

"Now I do not get many things right in rugby, but I am very pleased to say that I commented 'one day he will play for England' He is not quite there yet but ...”

The squad is Eddie Jones’ first of the year as Owen Farrell returns as captain, although there are some noticeable absentees, with the coach stating selecting the squad had ‘been a difficult task’ with ‘plenty of good young players’’.

Dorset Echo: File photo dated 16-10-2020 of England head coach Eddie Jones. Issue date: Tuesday April 20, 2021. PA Photo. England head coach Eddie Jones retains the full support of the Rugby Football Union board following a Six Nations debrief, the governing body has