The England U18 summer tour squad always leaves us at Fifteen Rugby with that slightly sentimental feeling whenever it is revealed. It is the final time that that generation of players is universally referred to by school.
Thirteen of the FIRA/AER U18 European Championship winning squad have been named in the final England U18 squad of the season, for the two-week summer tour of South Africa where they will face Wales, France, and South Africa.
That means that there are also thirteen members of this twenty-six man touring squad who were not present in Poland, and who will surely be looking to make a lasting impression in their final games as schoolboys.
One man whom many will be delighted to see back in an England shirt is Wellington Collegeâ€™s Brett Herron, who has joined the Bath Academy for the coming season. Herron missed much of Wellingtonâ€™s season through injury, only returning for the sevens season and therefore missed out on what would have been expected to have been a great year of rugby.
Three other Bath colleagues join Herron in the backline, Sherborneâ€™s Will Homer, and the Bryanston duo of Rory Jennings and the tremendously exciting Max Clark. All four of the Bath contingent missed out on the Euros along with one other of the twelve selected backs, St Paulâ€™s Catholic Collegeâ€™s Cameron Cowell.
Cowell has represented the England 7s team recently though, as has Whitgiftâ€™s Henry Cheeseman, who is also selected. They represented the 7s side in Lyon for the European Grand Prix 7s.
It is a tremendously exciting time to be covering age-grade rugby in England. As U18 Head Coach John Fletcher said: â€œThe vast majority of the Under 20s who have won back-to-back World Cups toured the southern hemisphere with the Under 18s, so it definitely stands them in good stead.â€
That crop was exciting as U18s and this current crop are just as exciting. Having witnessed them playing for their clubs, and schools for the last couple of years, it is always exciting to see them rewarded with international recognition.
In the pack Herronâ€™s school teammate Seb Adeniran-Olule returns to the squad, as does his fellow Harlequin Kieran Treadwell and the aforementioned Cheeseman.
Two Queen Elizabeth & Wyggeston College forwards come into the squad to join their schoolmate Owen Hills, Joe Maksymiw and Charlie Beckett, St Ambrose Collegeâ€™s Ciaran Parker also comes in.
Lewis Ludlum was one of four St Josephâ€™s College players to gain an academy contract for the coming season and the St Josephâ€™s Festival winner and Northampton Saints back row man makes a welcome return to the England U18 squad alongside the FIRA/AER winning captain, Sir Thomas Richâ€™s Sam Underhill.
Of course not everyone is in the last throes of their schoolboy careers. Some, such as Stoweâ€™s Rotimi Segun, will be back prong over the school books come September.
Either way, it is a tour that we cannot wait to cover.
England U18 Squad:
Lewis Boyce (Prince Henry’s & Leeds Carnegie)
Owen Hills (QEW & Leicester Tigers)
James Fish (Trent College & Northampton Saints)
Ollie Adams (St Pauls Catholic College & London Irish)
Seb Adeniran-Olule (Wellington College & Harlequins)
Ciaran Parker (St Ambrose & Sale Sharks)
Joe Batley (Hartpury College & Gloucester Rugby)
Kieran Treadwell (John Fisher & Harlequins)
Joe Maksymiw (QEW & Leicester Tigers)
George Nott (Kings School Chester & Sale Sharks)
Charlie Beckett (QEW & Leicester Tigers)
Lewis Ludlam (St Josephâ€™s College & Northampton Saints)
Sam Underhill (Sir Thomas Richâ€™s School & Gloucester Rugby)
Henry Cheeseman (Whitgift & Harlequins)
Will Homer (Sherborne School & Bath Rugby)
Rory Jennings (Bryanston School & Bath Rugby)
Theo Brophy Clews (Abingdon School & London Irish)
Cameron Cowell (St Pauls College & London Irish)
Kai Little (Hartpury College & Exeter Chiefs)
Harry Mallinder (Rugby School & Northampton Saints)
Max Clark (Bryanston School & Bath Rugby)
Rotimi Segun (Stowe School & Northampton Saints)
Brett Herron (Wellington College & Bath Rugby)
Joe Marchant (Peter Symonds & Harlequins)
Ollie Thorley (Cheltenham College & Gloucester Rugby)
Taylor Prell (Giggleswick School & Leeds)
Summer Tour Fixtures (South African Times):
Friday 15th August – City Park, Cape Town
12.00 – Italy v WP XV
14.00 – England v Wales
16.00 – South Africa v France
Tuesday 19th August – Outeniqua Park, George
12.00 – Italy v SWD Craven Week XV
14.00 – England v France
16.00 – South Africa v Wales
Saturday 23rd August – Paul Roos Markotter, Stellenbosch
12.00 – Italy v SARU Academy XV
14.00 – France v Wales
16.00 – South Africa v England