Port St Mary’s Patreece Bell has described his call-up to the Ireland Under-20s Six Nations squad as ‘an opportunity I’ve always dreamt of’.

London-born Bell, who plays for Sale Sharks, is set to make his debut for the Irish after switching allegiance from England, having been previously capped for them at u18 level.

Talking about the call-up, Patreece said: ‘It’s a big honour for me to be involved in this year’s squad. I’ve always dreamt of an opportunity like this, so I am going to make the most of the experience with the team.

‘Whether I get game time or not isn’t my decision, it’s the coaches - but I am confident in myself that I will be capable of playing a game at this standard. All I can do is keep painting a good picture to them.’

Patreece was scouted for selection during trial camps in the lead up to the Six Nations, while he explained that they were ‘keeping an eye on him’ during his national league games.

‘I had confidence in myself, but the call-up still came as a surprise because I acknowledged how talented all the other players are’, he said.

Patreece’s journey in rugby so far has not been straightforward; he trialed for Sale Academy at the age of 14, but had to fundraise in order for him to attend Kirkham Grammar School and his Sale sessions more regularly.

He then suffered a setback by dislocating his shoulder not long after being signed by Sale.

He said: ‘I took the positives from things like this, such as focusing on skills and my development in the gym.’

Explaining his decision to play for Ireland, Patreece said: ‘I qualify for Ireland because my grandma and grandad are both Irish.

‘I always watched Ireland games with my grandad and so I’ve always had a more personal connection to Irish rugby.’

Ireland open their campaign away in France on Saturday before back-to-back home matches at Virgin Media Park against Italy on Friday, February 9 (kick-off 7.15pm), and Wales on Friday, February 23 (kick-off 7.15pm).