England U18 name exciting side to face France

John Fletcher has named the England U18 side to face France tomorrow in their first game of the U18 International Series in South Africa.

The fixture is the first of three that England will play whilst in South Africa, with the second against South Africa U18 A on Tuesday before the final game of the series on Saturday the 15th against South Africa U18.

The game against France is England’s third game against Les Blues, with each side winning one game a piece, England 21-5 in February, and France winning 23-19 at the European Championship in March.

Fletcher retains six players from the final game of the Championship, the third place play off, Haileybury’s Nick Isiekwe in the second row, Epsom College’s Archie White at blindside, Trent College’s Will Allman at openside, Blundells’ Jack Maunder at scrum half, Felsted’s Max Malins at inside centre, and New Hall’s Dominic Morris partnering him at outside centre.

Fletcher will be rotating his squad through the series though, with each player guaranteed a start through the first two games ahead of the big game against South Africa a week on Saturday.

Joining those retained players are plenty of other familiar names to schools rugby fans around the country. The team will be captained by Gosforth Academy’s Callum Chick, who joins White and Allman in the back row at number 8.

Sedbergh’s Alex Moon joins Isiekwe in the second row, while Billy Keast (Truro College), Joe Mullis (Chosen Hill), and Billy Walker (Oaklands College) make up the front row, completing the pack.

Abingdon’s Theo Brophy-Clews, the youngest ever try scorer for London Irish, comes in at fly half to partner Maunder, with Malins and Morris outside him.

The back three looks the one of the most exciting of any England age group, with Millfield’s sensational Bath full back Darren Atkins in the fifteen shirt, with Wellington College’s Sam Aspland-Robinson, recently named in the England 7s squad for the Commonwealth Youth Games, on the right wing, and the vastly experienced Rotimi Segun of Stowe on the left wing.

Speaking ahead of the game, England U18 Head Coach John Fletcher said:

“Touring is a vital part of the programme, giving the players the opportunity to experience playing in different and challenging environments against tough opposition. “

“We had a good couple of sessions in England before flying out on Monday.  Training has been going well and the players are now really looking forward to the game.”

“We are encouraging the players to use these games to develop their ability to make decisions in the key moments, adapting to the opposition in attack, defence and transition.”

England U18 v France U18 – Friday 7th August, 13.00, City Park Stadium, Cape Town

England U18 XV:

15. Darren Atkins (Bath Rugby, Millfield School)      

14. Sam Aspland-Robinson (Harlequins, Wellington College)

13. Dominic Morris (Saracens, New Hall School)

12. Max Malins (Saracens, Felsted)             

11. Rotimi Segun (Northampton Saints, Stowe School)

10. Theo Brophy Clews (London Irish, Abingdon School)

9. Jack Maunder (Exeter Chiefs, Blundell’s School)

1. Billy Keast (Exeter Chiefs, Truro College)               

2. Joe Mullis (Gloucester Rugby, Chosen Hill)

3. Billy Walker (Saracens, Oaklands College)

4. Nick Isiekwe (Saracens, Haileybury College)         

5. Alex Moon (Northampton Saints, Sedbergh School)

6. Archie White (Harlequins, Epsom College)

7. Will Allman (Northampton Saints, Trent College)

8. Callum Chick (Newcastle Falcons, Gosforth Academy, captain)

Replacements

16. Curtis Langdon (London Irish, St Pauls Sunbury)

17. Jake Pope (Sale Sharks, Myerscough College)

18. Charlie Capps (Yorkshire Carnegie, Prince Henry’s)         

19. Josh Caulfield (Exeter Chiefs, Bicton College)    

20. Josh Bayliss (Bath Rugby, Millfield School)          

21. Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby, Merchiston Castle School)

22. Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints, Lymm HS)

23. Johnny Williams (London Irish, St Pauls Sunbury)              

24. Max Wright (Yorkshire Carnegie, Prince Henry’s)

25. Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins, Trinity)      

26. Ali Crossdale (Newcastle Falcons, Sedbergh School)

Schedule:

Friday 7th August: England Under 18 vs France Under 18, City Park Stadium, Cape Town – 13.00KO

Tuesday 11th August: England Under 18 vs South Africa Under 18 A, Outeniqua Park, George – 12.00 KO

Saturday 15th August: England Under 18 vs South Africa Under 18, City Park Stadium, Cape Town – 14.00 KO

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