HEREFORD rugby player Josh McNally could run out at Twickenham in an England shirt for the first time on Sunday after making the 35-man squad for the senior international against Barbarians.

The 27-year-old second row who plays his club rugby for London Irish has impressed this season despite his side being relegated from the Aviva Premiership.

The RAF Serviceman was also part of the winning team in the Inter-Service Cup recently.

McNally enjoyed a strong finish to the 2017/18 campaign with three tries in five appearances for the Exiles to force his way into the England reckoning and was invited to training.

McNally, who is uncapped, will compete with the likes of Chris Robshaw, Joe Launchbury and Nathan Hughes for a starting place this weekend.

His selection comes just months after McNally suffered a stroke which was later diagnosed as Patent Foramen Ovale and only returned to the London Irish team in March.

“The whole story of having a stroke and struggling to find a cause was the biggest thing,” said McNally.

“If you couldn’t find a cause, then you struggled to find anyone to say, ‘Yes, you are fit to play’ because it could happen again.

“Thankfully, we sought some of the best medical advice and found that I had a hole in the heart which is the reason the clot had got through.

“We got that closed, and I had a three-month recovery period, and I’ve got back on the park since.

"It’s been a long process but it feels like a distant memory now. A lot of people are born with a hole in the heart. Most people take their first breath and it shuts, but for some it doesn’t. It’s quite common.

“Not many people will push themselves to elite athlete levels of max heart rate, so they won’t find it.”