Jon Callard has named his updated England U20 squad for the forthcoming RBS 6 Nations campaign.
Callard, now in charge of the U20 set up after Ian Peel moved to Saracens and the England senior side, has named two new members to an otherwise unchanged squad as former Millfield flyer and Bath Academy full back Darren Atkins comes in along with Harlequins scrum half Calum Waters.
They come in for London Irish’s Johnny Williams, whose superb work with the Exiles’ 1st XV this season means he is still required by them, and Northampton Saints scrum half Alex Mitchell, the unfortunate victim of a knee injury.
The squad meets in Loughborough this week, after earlier camps in August and December of last year, ahead of their opening fixture against Scotland U20 at Broadwood Stadium in Glasgow on Friday 5th February.
Speaking at the squad announcement, Callard said:
“The mission for this group is to make other people shine. It is about players being individually the best they can be, making the others the best they want to be. This comes from having a strong work ethic and a team focus. We want to put the right processes in place to play exciting international rugby and to develop these aspiring international players for the future senior team.”
“We had tough camps in August and December last year but have a number of changes for this week, we now need to get everyone quickly to speed and the endeavour and enthusiasm shown by the players in training yesterday will certainly help that process. “
“The final preparations ahead of a Championship are always the most challenging with competition now just weeks away. Facing a fired up Scotland team in Glasgow on the first weekend will be a good test for these players – the first game is always exciting and will give us a good understanding of where we are at as a squad.”
Joining Callard in coaching the team are Rory Teague, who will take charge of the backs after moving from the Saracens Academy, and Peter Walton, who moves up from the U18 set up to look after the forwards. Simon Hardy and 2003 World Cup winner Richard Hill will also be part of the coaching team.
England will be looking to retain the title that they secured last year in a nail biting decider against France for their fourth title in five years. With three away games this year their task is at the tougher end, but you will be able to watch them live in their two home games, against Ireland and Wales, on Sky Sports. On the 26th February and 11th March.
Saracens’ Ralph Adams-Hale, Yorkshire Carnegie’s Max Green, and Exeter Chiefs’ Joe Simmonds also link up with the squad on a temporary basis. Adams-Hale and Green are acting as injury cover for Yorkshire Carnegie hooker Lewis Boyce, an almost certain future England star now in his third England U20 season, and Exeter Chiefs scrum half Jack Maunder, who last year was captain of England U18 while at Blundell’s School.
Simmonds takes the place of Abingdon School leaver Theo Brophy-Clews who is on fly half duty at London Irish.
England U20 Squad:
Sam Aspland-Robinson (Harlequins)
Darren Atkins (Bath Rugby)
Joshua Bainbridge (Yorkshire Carnegie)
Lewis Boyce (Yorkshire Carnegie)
Theo Brophy Clews (London Irish)
Callum Chick (Newcastle Falcons)
Andrew Kitchener (Worcester Warriors)
Max Malins (Saracens)
Harry Mallinder (Northampton Saints)
Joseph Marchant (Harlequins)
Jack Maunder (Exeter Chiefs)
Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby)
Joe Mullis (Gloucester Rugby)
George Nott (Sale Sharks)
Paolo Odogwu (Leicester Tigers)
George Perkins (Saracens)
Jake Pope (Sale Sharks)
Taylor Prell (Yorkshire Carnegie)
Mathew Protheroe (Gloucester Rugby)
Will Safe (Gloucester Rugby)
Jamie Shillcock (Worcester Warriors)
Jack Singleton (Worcester Warriors)
Samuel Smith (Worcester Warriors)
Stanley South (Harlequins)
William Stuart (Wasps)
Huw Taylor (Worcester Warriors)
Oliver Thorley (Gloucester Rugby)
Billy Walker (Saracens)
Jack Walker (Yorkshire Carnegie)
Calum Waters (Harlequins)
Tom West (Wasps)
Archie White (Harlequins)
Ralph Adams-Hale (Saracens)
Max Green (Yorkshire Carnegie)
Joe Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs)
England U20 6 Nations Fixtures:
Scotland – Friday 5th February, 20.00, Broadwood Stadium, Glasgow
Italy – Friday 12th February, 18.10, Stadio Pacifici, San Dona’ Di Piave
Ireland – Friday 26th February, 18.05, Kingston Park, Newcastle – Live on Sky Sports
Wales – Friday 11th March, 19.45, Ashton Gate, Bristol – Live on Sky Sports
France – Friday 18th March, 17.45, Stade du Hameau, Pau