"A Big Role Model" - EXCLUSIVE: Jack Bracken - 2003 Rugby World Cup Winner's Son Inspired by Brother Charlie on England & Saracens Journey - Ruck

“A Big Role Model” – EXCLUSIVE: Jack Bracken – 2003 Rugby World Cup Winner’s Son Inspired by Brother Charlie on England & Saracens Journey

The modern day rugby landscape is full of great sporting families. From the Tuilagis and Vunipolas who brought Pacific Island power to the England squad and Premiership, to the many members of the Barrett and Whitelock families, that have gone on to earn Test match caps for the All Blacks.

The Bracken’s could well be the next family name heralded upon the Test match stage, as 2003 Rugby World Cup winner Kyran Bracken has three sons that are each excelling in their respective journeys. Eldest son Charlie is making waves in the Saracens academy, and has already worn the red rose with multiple England age grade caps to his name. The youngest of three is Lachlan, who is progressing well throughout his secondary school years, but has quite a long way to go before he can follow in the footsteps of his brothers.

Then there is the middle child, Jack Bracken, who has recently emerged amongst the England U20s set-up as one to watch for the future. Bracken has broken the family trend of wearing the nine jersey, as unlike his scrum half father and older brother, Jack Bracken is out to pave his own way as a flying fullback. Bracken recently spoke to RUCK in an exclusive interview, about his experiences of growing up in a Rugby World Cup winner’s household, and what prompted his early career move away from the nine shirt.

“Well, I grew up playing nine. I think it was until I was about 13 or 14, that’s when I made the switch, I got a bit too tall! I think my physical attributes suited a back three player more than a nine, but I think it’s definitely helped with my development.

“All those back garden passing and skills sessions has really helped me as a player, and my kicking as well. I’ve got a younger brother, as well, he’s now moved to 10, so we can all play the same team. It would be pretty cool, we are all in the Saracens ranks at the moment, but it would be a dream one day (to play in the same team as his brothers).”

Looking up to his older brother Charlie, Jack Bracken has the perfect role model to bounce ideas off on his journey through the Saracens and England age group ranks. A sounding board like no other, Jack cherishes his relationship with his sibling, and expressed how as the years went on, Dad Kyran began to take a back seat in those garden training sessions.

“It would just be all the time (training in the back garden). It’s something that we love doing, and it was not anything that we felt like we had to do. It was what we just loved doing and I think the fact that we had each other as training partners (helped). I think my Dad was definitely (more involved in training) at our younger ages, both as we’ve grown up, we kind of trained with each other more, but we’ve learned a lot from him.

“Those skill sessions, those back garden kick-a-bouts have been really beneficial for all of us. I think there’s a healthy competition between all of us as well, and we bring the best out of each other. I think also talking about rugby and picking Charlie’s brains as he’s been in the professional environment. Having those chats about rugby with him, and learning from him. That’s something that I’d want to do with my younger brother, be a positive influence for him as he as he develops.”

At 18-years-old, Jack is two years younger than older brother Charlie, who has just graduated out of the U20s set-up. Charlie Bracken made his debut for Saracens against Wasps in the fifth round of the 2021/22 Premiership Rugby Cup, and achieved his first Gallagher Premiership appearence for Sarries the following season, in an off the bench run-out against Bath. This past campaign, Charlie gained valuable reps in senior rugby, whilst out on loan with Championship club Ampthill. This is an experience that Jack would one day like to emulate, and cut his teeth against the grizzled veterans of the second division.

“I think it’s been really beneficial seeing him do it last year. It just shows how his hard work and dedication has paid off. And it’s definitely a positive input on me, seeing what I need to do off the pitch as much as anything to get in the similar position, that he was. I know he’s a great influence on me, a big role model I think. I do look up to him a lot. And it’s definitely helped with all my goals seeing his hard work pay off.”

“Definitely, Ampthill’s a really great club. This worked really well for Charlie. I think the Championship would be a great place to develop my next step, to develop my rugby. It’s obviously a massive challenge with men’s rugby, but it is something I look forward to.”

With an abundance of England experience passed down from father to sons, Jack Bracken has the ideal support staff backing him up along his England journey. Despite having ambitions to break into the Saracens set-up for an eventual senior England push, Bracken is biding his time for now, and is making the most of his opportunities in both the England U20s camp and the Saracens Academy. After Bracken completes his school studies, the fullback aims to pursue a scholarship with Loughborough University, whilst he progresses up the ranks of the Saracens depth charts.

“So throughout this year, there was the Academy League, which was for Saracens. So next year, I’ll be in the senior academy, which will get me more opportunity to play for Saracens. But I’m still at school at the moment, then looking forward to those opportunities next year.”

“I think looking further ahead and into the Saracens preseason, really smashing that for myself in the best place possible for the upcoming season. Also, I’m looking forward to joining Loughborough, I hope to get some BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) rugby in there, that’d be one of my goals.”

“I’m looking to study economics and management. I think they’ve got a great relationship, Saracens and Loughborough. There’s quite a few boys in the Sarries academy that do go to Loughborough. They’re really flexible with academic and the rugby, balancing it as well as with England.”

Bracken has recently been out in Georgia, as Mark Mapletoft’s England U20s took on the Eastern Europeans a few weeks ago. Whilst Bracken utilised his evasiveness and fleet-footeded stepping to avoid heavy collisions with the clattering Georgians, the fullback watched on as his forwards took hit after bruising hit out in Tbilisi, that saw England win 31-7.

Up next for the Bracken is the U20 World Championships, with Mark Mapletoft’s men down in South Africa ahead of their opening pool stage match against Argentina. The England age-grade side take on Los Pumas this Saturday, with Bracken ready to hit full stride in the land of the Springboks, for his first World Championships campaign.