The England Counties U18 squad for their two game tour of Ireland has been selected.
A 23-man squad was selected by Team Manager David Penberthy and his coaching team for games against Ireland U18 Clubs on Wednesday 12th April and Saturday 15th April, both at Ashbourne RFC.
There England Counties U18, formerly England U18 Clubs and School, has a long history of giving players who have perhaps been overlooked by the pro game a shot, a great example being Harlequins full back Aaron Morris, who won the U20 World Championship with England after forcing his way into the professional ranks following his England Counties U18 form.
The squad was selected following two games last weekend, London & South East U18 v South West U18 and North U18 v Midlands U18. Performances in those matches then led to the coaches picking their squad from Sunday evening.
The North are the most represented region in the 23, with eight players. Those include three players from Queen Ethelburga’s in Yorkshire, Edward Brown, Harry Butler, and Sam Pocklington. Also included are Kirkham Grammar School’s Harry Pearson, RGS Lancaster’s Sam Stott, Runshaw College’s Jack Granby, Alexander Burrage of Bishop Heber, and Myerscough College’s Connor Johnson.
London & South East is the next most represented region, with six players. Those six include two players from Reigate Grammar School, Alexander Skinner and Paul Marshall, as well as Eastbourne College duo Thomas Wane and Hugh Turnbull, Farnborough College of Technology’s Cameron McDonald, and Middlsex’s Reon Joseph.
The Midlands have five players in the squad, Leicestershire’s William Roberts, Matthew Law of King’s Gratham, King Henry VIII Coventry’s Joseph Lane, John Kenward of Princethorpe College, and Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth I College’s Oliver Bee.
There are four players from the South West region, St Paul’s Catholic College’s Benjamin Atkins, Cokethorpe’s Frederick Barnes, Jake Clemson of Penwith College, and Cameron Terry of Cheltenham College.
Speaking to www.englandrugby.com about the announcent, Penberthy said:
“It was a demanding process (the weekend); there was a lot of deliverance over certain positions, but we think we have the right balance, we’re really pleased with the quality of the squad. Their skill levels are there, they play the game really well and it is easy to see they have been coached well by their schools and divisions.”
“The second weekend (the squad meets to train on Friday 10th March) will be recapping first, but we’ll be moving towards getting onto the field and into a competitive game environment. We’ll also be playing Leicester Tigers Academy which will be a good opportunity to test ourselves. It’ll be tough (on tour); the Irish have been tough over the years and I don’t think this year will be any different. It is a wonderful opportunity for these guys, to be selection for England is a fantastic honour.”
England Counties U18 squad:
Benjamin Atkins (Berkshire/St Pauls Catholic College), Frederik Barnes (Oxfordshire/Cokethorpe School), Oliver Bee (Leicestershire/Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth I College), Edward Brown (Yorkshire/Queen Ethelburga’s), Alexander Burrage (Cheshire/Bishop Heber High), Harry Butler (Yorkshire/Queen Ethelburga’s), Jake Clemson (Cornwall/Penwith College), Jack Granby (Lancashire/Runshaw College), Connor Johnson (Lancashire/ Myerscough), Reon Joseph (Middlesex/ Unattached), John Kenward (Leicestershire/Princethorpe College), Joseph Lane (Warwickshire/King Henry VIII School), Matthew Law (Lincolnshire/Kings Grammar School Grantham), Paul Marshall (Surrey/Reigate Grammar School), Cameron McDonald (Hampshire/Farnborough College of Technology), Harry Pearson (Lancashire/Kirkham Grammar School), Samuel Pocklington (Yorkshire/Queen Ethelburga’s), William Roberts (Leicestershire/ Unattached), Alexander Skinner (Surrey/Reigate Grammar School), Sam Stott (Lancashire/Lancaster Royal Grammar School), Cameron Terry (Gloucestershire/Cheltenham College), Hugh Turnbull (Sussex/Eastbourne College), Thomas Wane (Surrey/Eastbourne College).