While most 18-year-olds will be enjoying a well-earned rest over the summer holidays, Christ’s Hospital pupil Lennox Anyanwu will instead be training hard, following the exciting announcement that he is joining Harlequins Academy ahead of the new 2019-20 season. Lennox, who has been part of Harlequins’ Elite Player Development Group (EPDG), will now be part of the club on a full-time basis, based at Surrey Sports Park.
Lennox was selected to play for England at Under 16, Under 17 and Under 18 level. He went on tour to South Africa with the Under 18 squad, playing the likes of South Africa, France and Wales; he is one of four young players making the step up into the full time Academy. “It is the culmination of seven years of hard work. It’s not often you set a goal and see it through,” says Lennox. “I have a lot to thank the School for. It was the former Head Coach that put my name forward for Harlequin’s Development Player Programme (DPP).”
As the first ever recipient of the Christ’s Hospital Joe Launchbury Rugby Scholarship, it is especially fitting that Lennox is following in Joe’s footsteps. Joe Launchbury, who plays rugby for Wasps and England, is also a former Christ’s Hospital pupil. He left CH in 2009 and often finds time in his busy schedule to drop in for surprise visits to his old school to inspire and enthuse the CH rugby players.
“Having a strong network around me at Christ’s Hospital has been fantastic,” explains Lennox. “I wouldn’t have improved at the rate I did without it; the staff have played an important part of my development. From an early age, I was pushed to play a year up.
“My mum hates rugby,” he laughs. “She only watched a game for the first time a few months ago and we never talk about it at home. In a way, that’s nice as it means I can switch off!
“Since exams finished, a few of my friends have been out enjoying themselves. But I’ve been training every day. So, I’m making sacrifices now as I’m thinking about the long-term reward.”
Director of Rugby at Christ’s Hospital Ian Davies: “Lennox has worked fantastically hard to achieve his contract with Harlequins. It was not an easy task to balance academic studies with rugby commitments, but he had an excellent support network through the CH/Quins partnership. Lennox has just started pre-season, so will be working hard on his fitness and core skills, but I hope he will visit us early next term to inspire the next generation of boys and girls playing rugby at CH”.