England U18 change 11 for South Africa U18 A challenge

John Fletcher has named his England U18 XV to face South Africa U18 A at Outeniqua Park at noon tomorrow in their second game of the U18 International Series.

Fletcher makes eleven changes to the side that beat France U18 15-7 on Friday, their second win in three games against the French this season, as well as three positional changes.

Trent College leaver and Northampton Saints academy flanker Will Allman is the only person to continue in the same place that he began last week, starting at openside flanker.

Max Malins takes over the captaincy from Callum Chick, who will be on the bench for this one, the Felsted leaver moves in from inside centre to fly half.

Haileybury lock Nick Isiekwe moves across from four to five, while Millfield leaver Darren Atkins moves across from full back to the right wing.

Atkins’ schoolmate Josh Bayliss makes his first start for the U18 side at blindside flanker, with his Bath Academy teammate and Merchiston Castle leaver, Zach Mercer, completing the back row at number 8. Bicton College’s Josh Caulfield partners Isiekwe in the second row.

The front row is an all AASE College affair, with Myerscough’s Jake Pope at loosehead, Prince Henry’s Grammar School’s Charlie Capps at tighthead, and St Paul’s Catholic College’s Curtis Langdon at hooker.

Joining captain Malins in the half backs is Lymm High School scrum half Alex Mitchell, whose brother James started in the U20 World Championship final back in June in the same position.

Joining Atkins in the back three are Trinity winger Gabriel Ibitoye, and the versatile Ali Crossdale of Sedbergh at full back.

St Paul’s leaver and London Irish Academy prospect Johnny Williams starts at inside centre, and Prince Henry’s Max Wright starts outside him.

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

“We wanted every player to start in either the first or second game so that they have opportunity to transfer what we have been working on in training into a game situation. “

“The focus is always on how the players work together to solve the problems that the opposition create for us in attack and defence. I’m excited to see how this squad performs against a strong South African side with some very talented individuals.”

“The match against France was the first time this squad have played together since early April, it often takes a game to iron things out and we will be better for it. “

“Our performance was pleasing in most areas, we reacted well at the start of the second half when the French put us under real pressure but we felt that we created lots of opportunities and were frustrated not to convert more into tries.”

“Playing away from home is a big focus in what we do in the Under 18 programme – we try to test the players as much as we can to support their development and playing South Africa away, twice in one week, is a great example of that.”

England U18 v South Africa U18 A – Tuesday, 12.00 BST

England U18 XV

15. Ali Crossdale (Newcastle Falcons, Sedbergh School)

14. Darren Atkins (Bath Rugby, Millfield School)

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

12. Johnny Williams (London Irish, St Paul’s Sunbury)  

11. Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins, Trinity)  

10. Max Malins (Saracens, Felsted, captain)

9. Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints, Lymm HS)

1. Jake Pope (Sale Sharks, Myerscough College)

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

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

4. Josh Caulfield (Exeter Chiefs, Bicton College)    

5. Nick Isiekwe (Saracens, Haileybury College)        

6. Josh Bayliss (Bath Rugby, Millfield School)          

7. Will Allman (Northampton Saints, Trent College)

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


16. Joe Mullis (Gloucester Rugby, Chosen Hill)

17. Billy Keast (Exeter Chiefs, Truro College)

18. Billy Walker (Saracens, Oaklands College)

19. Alex Moon (Northampton Saints, Sedbergh School)

20. Callum Chick (Newcastle Falcons, Gosforth Academy)

21. Archie White (Harlequins, Epsom College)

22. Jack Maunder (Exeter Chiefs, Blundells School)

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

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

25. Roti Segun (Unattached, Stowe School)

26. Dominic Morris (Saracens, New Hall School)


Friday 7th August: England Under 18 15-7 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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