England U18s have revealed their squad to take on Scotland at Hamilton RFC on Sunday.
Coaches John Fletcher and Peter Walton have selected a 24 man squad, with thirteen forwards and eleven backs, for the encounter, which kicks off at midday on Sunday.
It is the first game of the season for both sides, though both have already played warm up fixtures a fortnight ago, with England Leicester Tigersâ€™ Academy 19-12 at Welford Road, while Scotland beat a Scottish U18s District XV 53-0.
England are generally one of the strongest sides at this level in the Northern Hemisphere and beat Scotland on both occasions that they met last season, as Scotland U18s Head Coach Eddie Pollock alluded to in his squad announcement:
â€œEngland are the top team in Europe at this age-grade, and have been for the past three or four years.â€
John Fletcher was keen to play that down though and spoke of the challenge that facing Scotland presents:
â€œPlaying Scotland in Scotland is always a challenge and theyâ€™ll certainly be up for it; we have trained well together and head up toÂ HamiltonÂ full of confidence. We are always looking for the players and the squad to perform to their potential and put the things that we have worked on in trainingÂ intoÂ the gameâ€
Whether my accident or design there are no players involved in the squad would will be in NatWest Cup action for their school 1st XVs at the weekend, leaving Head Coaches in the unusual situation of being pleased to have a player rather than have them at an international.
There are plenty who have been in action in that tournament previous round though, the likes of Whitgiftâ€™s Stan South, Lymm High Schoolâ€™s Alex Mitchell, and Stoweâ€™s Rotimi Segun.
Naturally though, the squad is filled with the stars of the 2013/14 Schools circuit, U18 Premiership, and AASE League, and should ignite great interest for this first U18 fixture of 2014 as the side builds towards the FIRA/AER European Championships in Poland over April.
One clash that should be particularly spectacular will be between St Paulâ€™s Catholic College teammates Ollie Adams for England and Callum Sheldon for Scotland, though with this being Scotland v England there should be exciting clashes at every turn.
Scotland U18 v England U18, Sunday 9th March, Hamilton RFC, 12.00
What do you think of the England U18s side? Who are your ones to watch and future stars? Let us know via the comment box below or via @FifteenRugbyXV
England U18 Squad v Scotland
Forwards: Lewis Boyce (Prince Henry’s, Leeds Carnegie)Â â€¨Owen Hills (QEW, Leicester Tigers)â€¨ Ollie Adams (St Pauls Catholic College, London Irish)â€¨ Jack Walker (Prince Henry’s, Leeds Carnegie)â€¨ Jack Stanley (Truro College, Exeter Chiefs) â€¨Jack Spencer (Hartpury, Gloucester)â€¨ George Nott (Kings School Chester, Sale Sharks) â€¨Stanley South (Whitgift School, Harlequins)â€¨ Huw Taylor (Old Swinford Hospital, Worcester Warriors)â€¨ Sam Smith (Old Swinford Hospital, Worcester Warriors)â€¨ Sam Underhill (Sir Thomas Richâ€™s School, Gloucester)â€¨ Will Safe (Hartpury College, Gloucester)â€¨ Callum Chick (Gosforth Academy, Newcastle Falcons).
Backs: Alexander Mitchell (Lymm HS, Sale Sharks) Jack Maunder (Blundells School, Exeter Chiefs) Theo Brophy-Clews (Abingdon School, London Irish) Kai Little (Hartpury College, Exeter Chiefs) Harry Mallinder (Rugby School, Northampton Saints) Rotimi Segun (Stowe School, Northampton Saints) Lucas Slowik (Filton College, Bristol) Ollie Thorley (Cheltenham College, Gloucester) George Perkins (Oaklands College, Saracens) Taylor Prell (Giggleswick School, Leeds) Joe Marchant (Peter Symonds, Harlequins).