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11 2012/13 schoolboys included in England U20s Squad

England’s U20s coaches Nick Walshe and Ian Peel have named their squad for the 2013/14 season.

32 players were selected, including eleven of the JWC winning squad and eleven of the U18s squad that toured South Africa this summer.

Six of last season’s Fifteen Rugby School ‘All Stars’ squad are selected, Yarm’s Zach Kibirige, Hampton’s Alex Lundberg, Brighton College’s & England’s 2013 U18 captain James Chisholm, and the second row trio of Millfield’s Tom Ellis, Bryanston’s Charlie Ewels, and Harrow’s Maro Itoje.

That so many players are jumping straight from schoolboy level to the U20’s set up shows just how strong a season the 2012/13 school season was, in particular that young second row trio could be fighting it out for places all the way to the very top of the game, though Itoje could end up playing on the flank, allowing the two Bath youngsters, Ellis and Ewels, to further develop their already excellent partnership.

Reflecting on the squad, England’s Senior Head Coach, Stuart Lancaster, said:

“This season’s England Under 20s squad is a strong one with lots of experience. The amount of competition for places in each position reflects well on the work the regional academies at the clubs are doing.

“A lot of the players in this squad have come through our age group international programme – nine are Junior World Championship winners – and that goes to show how well the development pathway is working with players progressing through from the Under 18s into the Under 20s. Hopefully then they will be pushing for places in the Senior and Saxons Elite Player Squads.”

U20s coach Nick Walshe echoed that sentiment but was keen to point out just how hard the players would have to work in order to be selected to play from this squad though:

“We’re excited to work with the players in our squad. We have a good blend of guys with experience and new talent coming in from the Under 18 set-up. There is always huge competition at this age grade and with a lot of players getting first team rugby at their clubs, it’s tough to narrow that down to a group of 32. We expect players to continue to push for inclusion.

“Competition for places will be high, but that’s just what you want. We had a successful season last season and the aim is to perform even better.”

If there is one player that those included in the squad will be looking up to as a shining example of what can be achieved though it will be the England Saxons’ Jack Nowell.

Nowell was one of the stars of the U20s victorious JWC campaign this year and just a few months afterwards he was named in the Saxons squad, showing that if you perform at this level then anything can happen, regardless of age or experience.

England U20s squad 2013/14:

Forwards: James Chisholm (Harlequins) 
Joel Conlon (Exeter Chiefs) 
Tom Ellis (Bath Rugby) 
Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby) 
Paul Hill (Leeds Carnegie) 
Jonny Hill (Gloucester Rugby) 
Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi (Northampton Saints) 
Maro Itoje (Saracens) 
Gus Jones (London Wasps) 
Lewis Ludlow (Gloucester Rugby) 
Alex Lundberg (London Wasps) 
Ross Moriarty (Gloucester Rugby) 
Cameron Neild (Sale Sharks) 
Will Owen (Leicester Tigers) 
Harry Rudkin (Leicester Tigers) 
Harry Thacker (Leicester Tigers) 
Scott Wilson (Newcastle Falcons).

Backs: Callum Braley (Bristol Rugby) 
Billy Burns (Gloucester Rugby) 
Jordan Burns (Harlequins) 
George Catchpole (Leicester Tigers) 
Nathan Earle (Saracens) 
Louis Grimoldby (Harlequins) 
Zach Kibirige (Newcastle Falcons) 
Sam Olver (Northampton Saints) 
Howard Packman (Northampton Saints) 
Henry Purdy (Leicester Tigers) 
Harry Sloan (Harlequins) 
Tom Stephenson (Northampton Saints) 
Nick Tompkins (Saracens) 
Stuart Townsend (Exeter Chiefs) 
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby).

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