After yesterday’s main England squad announcements for their games against Wales and Australia, England have today named the England Saxons squad for their two-Test series against South Africa this June.
The squad will play in Bloemfontein on Friday 10th June and in George on Friday 17th June.
A number of full internationals are named in the squad, the 22-time senior international Dave Attwood is the most experienced, with Kieran Brookes, Matt Kvesic, Danny Cipriani, Christian Wade, Semesa Rokoduguni, and Luther Burrell the other capped players.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the squad though is the five U20 World Champions in the squad, adding to the likes of Maro Itoje, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Henry Slade, Jack Nowell, and Anthony Watson in the main squad.
From the 2013 winning squad Sam Hill of Exeter Chiefs, and his soon to be clubmate, Ollie Devoto, currently of Bath, are both selected. Both have also been part of the senior England set up.
From the 2014 winning squad Saracens’ Nick Tompkins, Bath’s Charlie Ewels, and Harlequins’ James Chisholm (players of the tournament in that win), are all selected.
Their selection is further evidence of the strength of the U20 programme in recent years, and indeed the faith in which the England coaches have in it, despite the fact that Eddie Jones has naturally not been so linked to it over the years as Stuart Lancaster was.
Jones picked the squad but, as he will be in Australia with the senior side, a new coaching team is in place for this Saxons game. World Cup winner Richard Hill, a key figure for England’s U20 and U18 set ups, will be Team Manager with Exeter Chiefs’ Ali Hepher acting as Head Coach.
Hepher’s assistants will be Wasps’ Andy Titterell and Northampton Saints’ Alan Dickens.
Speaking at announcement of the squad, Hepher said:
“Eddie Jones has given us a strong development squad to take on a South Africa A side, thesquad has a good mixture of experienced players and emerging talent.”
“Playing South Africa twice in South Africa is going to be a great challenge and a significant test for us but it is also an incredibly exciting opportunity for the players and management to prove themselves. The series will give the players international experience and will be an important stepping stone towards international honours.”
“As coaches, this is an exciting opportunity for us too, not only to coach this group of highly-talented players but also for us to gain some international rugby experience.”
England Saxons Squad:
Ross Harrison (Sale Sharks)
Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs)
Tommy Taylor (Wasps)
George McGuigan (Newcastle Falcons)
Jake Cooper-Woolley (Wasps)
Kieran Brookes (Northampton Saints)
James Craig (Northampton Saints)
Mitch Lees (Exeter Chiefs)
Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby)
Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby)
Dave Ewers (Exeter Chiefs)
Donovan Armand (Exeter Chiefs)
Matthew Kvesic (Gloucester)
James Chisholm (Harlequins)
Sam Jones (Wasps)
Dan Robson (Wasps)
Michael Young (Newcastle Falcons)
Ollie Devoto (Bath Rugby)
Danny Cipriani (Wasps)
Christian Wade (Wasps)
Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby)
Sam Hill (Exeter Chiefs)
Nick Tompkins (Saracens)
Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints)
Alex Lewington (London Irish)
Sam James (Sale Sharks)
Mike Haley (Sale Sharks)
Head Coach – Ali Hepher (Exeter Chiefs)
Assistant Coach – Andy Titterrell (Wasps)
Assistant Coach – Alan Dickens (Northampton Saints)
Team Manager – Richard Hill