Shooting star: Tigers' Owen Richie's out to give it his best

Castleford's brilliant young full back Richie Owen is one tiger who prefers to be the hunter rather than the hunted.

The 19-year-old Tigers star spends much of his spare time hunting rabbits and ferrets with his dad in the Yorkshire countryside.

‘We go all over and shoot whatever the farmers want us to shoot. I love hunting. There is nothing better than getting out in the fresh air even if it’s just walking the dogs and having a good think about life,’ says Owen.

‘You need something to keep your feet on the ground when you’re in professional sport at my age.’

Enjoys going hunting: Owen

Enjoys going hunting: Owen

Already tipped as a future England full back by former Great Britain captain Garry Schofield, Owen has been playing rugby league since he was five.

Castleford, his hometown club, recruited him from Featherstone Lions when he was 13 and three years later he made a try-scoring debut in the first team.

Now, hopefully recovered from the ankle injury which has ruled him out of the Tigers’ last three Super League games, he is set for a comeback off the bench against Celtic Crusaders at The Jungle tomorrow and then an elimination play-off at either Wakefield or Wigan next weekend.

‘I should get 20 minutes against the Crusaders to make sure the ankle is OK. I injured it in training and then it got worse in a game against Hull KR,’explains Owen.

He is anxious not to miss the play-offs, which are a reward for Castleford’s excellent progress after finishing bottom last season.

Fortunately, the RFL had done away with promotion and relegation so Castleford’s coach Terry Matterson, who brought the Tigers back up from National League One the previous year, was able to plan for the future.

‘After the club invested in some more world-class players, with a winning mentality, we set out to make the play-offs and we have done it,’ says Owen.

Matterson also persevered with his fledgling stars, notably Owen, loose forward Joe Westerman and centre Michael Shenton.

Now Owen has his sights set on playing for England, having been capped at schoolboy level.

‘Every lad wants to play for his country. I’ve just got to play well for Cas and keep my feet on the ground,’ he admits.

And keep shooting for the stars as well as at rabbits.

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