England have named their side for their opening U18 FIRA/AER European Championship match tomorrow, a day that sees all four of the Home Unions sides involved.
The Elite Division contains eight teams, therefore meaning that the competition, held in Poland this year, begins at the quarter final stage, which line up identically to the games this time last year.
England were the Champions last year, beating France 27-22 in the final following a 25-12 semi final victory over Scotland and a quarter final 82-8 victory over Portugal.
England will be looking to replicate that thumping victory over the Portuguese tomorrow morning in the tournament opener. Two of the squad involved in last yearâ€™s tournament success will be involved again this time around, both in the backline, Oaklands College and Saracensâ€™ George Perkins, and Bristol and Filton Collegeâ€™s Lucas Slowik.
Neither starts tomorrow though, and nor does tour captain Sam Underhill, with Prince Henryâ€™s Grammar Schoolâ€™s Josh Bainbridge selected ahead of him at openside and Rugbyâ€™s Harry Mallinder taking on the captaincy from inside centre.
Head Coach John Fletcher reflected on the benefit that the tournament will have for the playersâ€™ development:
â€œWeâ€™re looking forward to another FIRA Tournament â€“ itâ€™s good for the players to experience the hotel, the food and the culture of another country, because thatâ€™s part and parcel of modern rugby.â€
â€œWe played Portugal last season and we know that they wonâ€™t hold back, but we have confidence in ourselves and weâ€™ll be looking for the guys to perform as well as they can.â€
â€œHarry will lead the side out for this game, although Sam Underhill is our tour captain, and itâ€™s a great opportunity for both of those players.â€
Mallinder is partnered in the centres by Peter Symondsâ€™ Joe Marchant,and Abingdonâ€™s Theo Brophy-Clews will be looking to put them into space from fly half.
His half-back partner is Lymm High Schoolâ€™s Alex Mitchell. His brother, James, was in the squad for last yearâ€™s Championship, also as a scrum half, showing just what a talented family they are.
Completing the backline are St Paulâ€™s Catholic Collegeâ€™s Cameron Cowell at full back, Stoweâ€™s former School Cup finalist, Rotimi Segun, on the left wing, and Hartpury Collegeâ€™s AASE title winner, Kai Little, on the left.
Hartpury are the only school to have two players in the starting XV, with Littleâ€™s schoolmate Joe Batley starting in the back row alongside Bainbridge and Gosforth Academyâ€™s Callum Chick at number 8.
Old Swinford Hospitalâ€™s Huw Taylor and Whitgiftâ€™s Stan South make up the second row, while Dulwich Collegeâ€™s triple Schools Cup Champion, Josh Ibuanokpe, starts at tighthead, with Queen Elizabeth & Wyggeston College prop Owen Hills, and Trent Collegeâ€™s NatWest Vase winning hooker, James Fish, joining him in the front row.
It is a strong looking England side, and they will expect to record another strong victory over Portugal this year, however it is their potential semi final that really gets the mouth watering.
It will be on Tuesday against the winner of Wales v Scotland tomorrow, which will likely be the quarter final that attracts the most Home Nations interest tomorrow, they play each other at 1pm.
At the same time Ireland will be playing Georgia, with the winner of that game taking on the winner of France v Italy, 15.00 kick off, on Tuesday.
Both Ireland and Scotland have also named their sides, Ireland have no Exiles in their side but have pooled their resources well from the four regions, while Scotland have a number of familiar faces in their side.
Rory Hutchinson starts at fly half for the Scots, with Reuben Norville of St Paulâ€™s Catholic College and London Irish on the wing, while Millfieldâ€™s Adam Hastingâ€™s and Queen Elizabethâ€™s Hosptialâ€™s Callum Sheldon are both on the bench.
It all looks set to be an exciting week of U18 International Rugby.
Friday 11th April – Quarter Finals
Tuesday 15th April â€“ Semi Finals
Saturday 19th April â€“ Finals
QF1 11.00 England v Portugal
SF1 Winner QF1 v Winner QF4
Final: Winner SF1 v Winner SF2
QF2 15.00 France v Italy
SF2 Winner QF2 v Winner QF3
3rd/4th Place: Loser SF1 v Loser SF2
QF3 13.00 Ireland v Georgia
Plate SF1 Loser QF1 v Loser QF4
5th/6th Place: Winner Plate SF1 v Winner Plate SF2
QF4 13.00 Scotland v Wales
Plate SF2 Loser QF2 v Loser QF3
7th/8th Place: Loser Plate SF1 v Loser Plate SF2
15 Cameron Cowell (St Pauls Catholic College, London Irish)
14 Kai Little (Hartpury College, Exeter Chiefs)
13 Joe Marchant (Peter Symonds, Harlequins)
12 Harry Mallinder (Rugby School, Northampton Saints)
11 Rotimi Segun (Stowe School, Northampton Saints)
10 Theo Brophy-Clews (Abingdon School, London Irish)
9 Alex Mitchell (Lymm High School, Sale Sharks)
1 Owen Hills (Queen Elizabeth Wyggeston College, Leicester Tigers)
2 James Fish (Trent College, Northampton Saints)
3 Josh Ibuanokpe (Dulwich College, Harlequins)
4 Huw Taylor (Old Swinford Hospital, Worcester Warriors)
5 Stanley South (Whitgift School, Harlequins)
6 Joe Batley (Hartpury College, Gloucester Rugby)
7 Josh Bainbridge (Prince Henryâ€™s Grammar, Leeds Carnegie)
8 Callum Chick (Gosforth Academy, Newcastle Falcons)
16 Ollie Adams (St Pauls Catholic College, London Irish)â€¨ 17 Lewis Boyce (Prince Henry’s Grammar, Leeds Carnegie) â€¨18 Jack Stanley (Truro College, Exeter Chiefs) â€¨19 George Nott (Kings School Chester, Sale Sharks)â€¨ 20 Will Safe (Hartpury College, Gloucester Rugby)â€¨ 21 Sam UnderhillÂ (Sir Thomas Richâ€™s School, Gloucester Rugby) â€¨22 Jack Maunder (Blundells School, Exeter Chiefs)â€¨ 23 Charlie Thacker (Leicester Grammar, Leicester Tigers)â€¨ 24 Lucas Slowik (Filton College, Bristol Rugby)â€¨ 25 Taylor Prell (Giggleswick School, Leeds Carnegie).
15 Ruairi Howarth (Gala Academy/Gala)
14 Reuben Norville (St. Paulâ€™s Catholic College /London Irish)
13 Josh Laird (Strathallan School/Kirkcaldy)
12 George Taylor (Loretto School/Melrose)
11 Robbie Nairn (George Watsonâ€™s College)
10 Rory Hutchinson (MPW Cambridge/Shelford)
9 Andrew Manson (Stewartâ€™s Melville College)
1 Murray McCallum (Strathallan/Dunfermline)
2 Jake Kerr (George Watsonâ€™s College/Watsonians)
3 Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Hawks)
4 Andrew Davidson (Kelvinside Academy/Glasgow Hawks)
5 Jamie Ritchie (Strathallan/Howe of Fife – captain)
6 Scott Burnside (Heriotâ€™s FP)
7 Matthew Smith (Stirling County)
8 Ally Miller (George Watsonâ€™s College/Watsonians).
16 Lewis Anderson (Marr College/Ayr)Â 17 Gary Robertson (Gala Academy/Gala)Â 18 Callum Sheldon (Queen Elizabeth School/Newcastle Falcons)Â 19 Lewis Wynne (St. Mungo’s High School/Stirling County)Â 20 Calum Hunter-Hill (Stewart’s Melville College) Â 21 Hugh Fraser (Merchiston Castle School)Â 22 Adam Hastings (Millfield School) 23 Ben RobbinsÂ (George Watsonâ€™s College/Currie).
Forwards: Kieron Assirratti (Blues/ Coleg y Cymoedd/ Wattstown), Robert Lewis (Blues/ St Peters / Coleg y Cymoedd), Harrison Walsh (Ospreys / Bishopgore / Mumbles), Liam Belcher (Blues/ Coleg y Cymoedd / Pontypridd), Dafydd Hughes (Scarlets / Llandovery College / Llandovery), Sam Matthews (Ospreys/ Pencoed College), Matthew Dodd (Ospreys / Olchfa / Dunvant), Seb Davies (Blues / Coleg y Cymoedd / Pentyrch), Calum Haggett (Blues / Coleg y Cymoedd / Gilfach Goch), Tom Phillips (Scarlets / Coleg Sir Gar / Llangennech), Harrison Keddie (Dragons / Coleg Gwent / Caerleon), Lloyd Phillips (Scarlets/ Coleg Sir Gar/ Felinfoel), Shaun Evans (Scarlets/ Coleg Sir Gar/ Felinfoel), Ben Davies (Ospreys/ Pontarddulais Comp/ Pontarddulais), Josh Cole (Ospreys / Neath Port Talbot College / Tonmawr).
Backs: Matthew Aubrey (Ospreys/ Gower College/ Pontarddulais), Carl Lewis (Blues North/ Coleg y Cymoedd/ Treorchy), Jarrod Evans (Blues North/ Coleg y Cymoedd/ Pontypridd), Dan Jones (Scarlets / Coleg Sir Gar / Carmarthen Quins), Barney Nightingale (Newport High), Owen Watkin (Ospreys / Bridgend College / Bryncethin), Joe Gage (Ospreys/ Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera / Abercrave), Matthew Pearce (Ysgol y Strade / Llanelli Wanderers), Shaun Pearce (Scarlets / Glan y Mor / Bury Port), Rhys Gealy (Ospreys / YG Gwyr / Pontarddulais), Elis-Wyn Benham (Coleg y Cymoedd / St Joseph’s).
15. Jack Power (Blackrock College/Leinster)
14. Calvin Nash (Crescent College Comprehensive/Munster)
13. Paul Kiernan (Presentation Brothers Cork/Munster)
12. Colm Mulcahy (Clongowes Wood College/Leinster)
11. Jacob Stockdale (Wallace High School/Ulster)
10. Matthew Gilsenan (St. Michael’s College/Leinster)
9. Rowan Osborne (Clongowes Wood College/Leinster)
1. Andrew Porter (St. Andrew’s College/Leinster)
2. John Molony (Clongowes Wood College/Leinster)
3. Conan O’Donnell (Summerhill College/Connacht)
4. James Ryan (St. Michael’s College/Leinster) (capt)
5. Peter Claffey (Garbally College/Connacht)
6. Will Connors (Clongowes Wood College/Leinster)
7. Charlie Cregan (St. Michael’s College/Leinster)
8. Max Deegan (St. Michael’s College/Leinster).
Replacements: 16 Conor McIlmurray (Campbell College/Ulster)â€¨ 17 Hugo Kean (Blackrock College/Leinster)â€¨ 18 Conor Kenny (Garbally College/Connacht)â€¨ 19 Sean O’Connor (Rockwell College/Munster)â€¨ 20 Johnny Guy (St. Andrew’s College/Leinster)â€¨ 21 Greg Jones (St. Andrew’s College/Leinster)â€¨ 22 David Duggan (St. Michael’s College/Leinster)â€¨ 23 Jimmy O’Brien (Newbridge College/Leinster)â€¨ 24 Oisin O’Meara (St. Michael’s College/Leinster)â€¨ 25.Jordan Larmour (St. Andrew’s College/Leinster)â€¨ 26 Alan McMahon (Rockwell College/Munster)