The England Counties U18 squad has been named for their traditional tri-nations competition against France U18 Poles Espoirs and Ireland U18 Clubs.
The squad, named by team manager John Porter-Griffiths, will play France U18 Poles Espoirs on Wednesday 30th March, with their game against Ireland U18 Clubs taking place on Saturday 2nd March. The tournament is being hosted in Dublin this year, following on from Paris and Hartpury, and England’s games will take place at Ashbourne RFC.
The 24-man squad was selected from the two regional games, London & South East v South West, and North v Midlands, and will play two warm up matches before the competition, against Northampton Saints Academy and Leicester Tigers Academy.
The England Counties U18 side, or England U18 Clubs & Schools as it was previously known, has helped produce some top players now playing the game professionally, including England U20 Junior World Championship winner Aaron Morris, and our very own columnists, Dan Lewis, now plying his trade at Oyonnax in France.
Speaking about the squad and the forthcoming series, Porter-Griffiths said:
“We’re really pleased with the group of players we have this year who we know will be very competitive during the tour in Ireland, training with the Leicester and Northampton academy teams will be fantastic for our players and give them a taste of rugby at a higher level, which in turn will ensure they are primed for our first match.”
“All players play to win, however our ultimately aim is development these young men to achieve the best that they can. A number of these players will go on to achieve great things in their rugby careers like so many have done before them. There is no higher honour than representing your country and you can see just how much it means to the players.”
The Midlands are the region that most dominate the squad, with nine representatives, while London and South East are close behind with eight. The North has six representatives, while the South West has just one, Max Clementson from the Oratory.
Three schools have two representatives each, Solihull with William Cutbill and Charlie Morgan, Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School with Oliver Wem and Ben Jesson, and Warwick, with Joshua Grimes and Thomas Dodd.
Kirkham Grammar School, meanwhile, have three representatives with Matthew Woodward, Nicholas Ashcroft and Thomas Carleton, reflecting just what a stellar season they have had, and how strong their squad is.
England Counties U18 Fixtures:
Wednesday 30th March v France U18 Poles Espoires
Saturday 2nd April v Ireland U18 Clubs
|England Counties U18 Squad|
|Nicholas Ashcroft||Kirkham Grammar/North|
|Louis Brown||St. Wilfrids Catholic College/North|
|Thomas Carleton||Kirkham Grammar/North|
|Luke Chadwick||Prince Henry’s Grammar/North|
|Max Clementson||Oratory/South West|
|Charlie Fatoma||Trinity School/London & South East|
|Tom Fawcett||Oaklands College/London & South East|
|Mike Guida||Henley College/London &South East|
|James Hadfield||Hurstpierpoint College/London & South East|
|William Hardwick||Bedford Modern/Midlands|
|Samuel Hollingsworth||Worcester Sixth Form College/Midlands|
|Ben Jesson||Bishops Vesey’s Grammar/Midlands|
|Sam Miller||Harrow/London & South East|
|James Newman||King’s Worcester/Midlands|
|Olli Smith||Worthing College/London & South East|
|Robert Smith||Dartford Grammar/London & South East|
|Lawrence Thresher||Skinners’/London & South East|
|Oliver Wem||Bishops Vesey’s Grammar/Midlands|
|Matthew Woodward||Kirkham Grammar/North|