Carl Forster: Whitehaven coach, 24, plotting Challenge Cup upset against Halifax

Carl Forster
Carl Forster replaced James Coyle as Whitehaven head coach in September 2016

One of British sport's youngest professional head coaches is hoping to make his mark in rugby league's oldest cup competition.

At 24, Carl Forster has only been playing as a professional for seven years, but he was given the job as head coach when Whitehaven were relegated to England's third tier in 2016.

And now he is hoping to draw on the fountain of youth when his League 1 side aim to cause an upset against Championship team Halifax in the fifth round of the Challenge Cup.

The tie, to be played at Whitehaven's Recreation Ground, has been chosen to be streamed live on the BBC Sport website on Sunday, 23 April (15:00 BST).

It is part of a commitment by BBC Get Inspired to, in the early rounds, put the focus on clubs who do not often get the chance to share the limelight with some of the game's giants.

"We can't wait for this tie," said former Salford and St Helens prop Forster. "It'll be a real chance to see how far we have come in the last few months."

Carl Forster
Forster (left) featured in Super League for Salford last season

Whitehaven turned heads when they appointed Forster as player-coach after last season's relegation campaign.

He is one of the youngest players in his own squad.

But the Cumbrian side have a strong start in 2017, beating Oxford in round four and South Wales in the league, while they also pushed high-flying Toronto Wolfpack close in their most recent league outing.

Forster continued: "My age has created a bit of publicity. There are a lot of people talking about it. But for me it's not an issue. Nobody within our group talks about it.

"The job has been good. It's come with its struggles, especially in pre-season. But as soon as the competitive games have started, it's been going well."

Now Forster's aim is to add to the collection of magical Challenge Cup memories that began with the 2002 final when he was just nine years old.

"My first memory was, as a St Helens fan, watching us in the final at Murrayfield when we got beaten by Wigan," he said.

"Then I was at the first game back at the new Wembley in 2007 when James Roby scored the first try there.

"Later I was in a St Helens squad that had a good cup run, playing in the early rounds. But now I'm just concentrating on doing a good job here."

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