A rugby player has discovered a hidden talent after coming fourth in the National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships.

Daniel Gray, 17, a sixth form student at Emmanuel College, Gateshead, admits he would rather be playing at number eight on the rugby pitch – but cannot ignore his ability in rowing after just three competitions.

In the national contest held at the Lee Valley Centre, in London, he rowed 2,000 metres in a personal best time of seven minutes and two seconds.

Daniel only took up rowing after trying out a machine in the college’s state-of-the-art fitness and weights room, to which sixth formers have open access.

The 6ft 2ins tall student, who is studying business, economics and PE at A level, said: “Miss Robinson taught me the basic technique of rowing but that, with the three competitions I’ve done, is the full extent of my rowing career.

“I think my height and the training I do for rugby probably helps. If I go to university I might continue rowing but it will have to be on a river.”

Jonathan Winch, principal of Emmanuel College, added: “We’re all about providing opportunities for our students and encouraging them to try something new.

“It’s fascinating to see talents emerge and, although Daniel is rugby through and through, his success in rowing just shows that sometimes you can achieve unexpected things.”