The England U18 side to face France U18 on Sunday at Aylesbury RFC (2pm kick off) has been named.
The England 23 has been selected from a wider 38-man squad, also officially named today, who will compete in fixtures against France on Sunday, Scotland u18 on the 12th March, and Wales U18 on Sunday 26th March, ahead of the U18 International Series in April.
Two players who would have been played in Saturday’s U18 NatWest semi finals have been named in Sunday’s 23, Bishop Wordsworth’s Cadan Murley will be on the left wing for England rather than skippering his side at Allianz Park, similarly Warwick skipper Nick Rigby will be on the England bench.
Joining Murley in the back three are Dean Close’s Tom Seabrook on the right wing and Harrow’s Elliot Obatoyinbo at full back. Obatoyinbo is joined in the side by his schoolmate Sean Reffell, who starts at 7, the position from which he captained Saracens U18.
Alongside him in the back row are two other players who have stood out for school and club this season, Henley College and Wasps’ hard man Tom Willis at blindside, and Sedbergh and Sale Sharks number 8 Sam Moore.
Three U18 players appeared for England U20 last weekend against Italy in the U20 Six Nations, and all three start on Sunday against France for the U18s. Worcester 6th form College’s man mountain Ted Hill starts in the second row, with Exeter College’s Marcus Street at tighthead, and the outstanding Marcus Smith from Brighton College at fly half.
Smith’s half back partner is Merchant Taylors’ scrum half Will Porter, who has featured in the A League and Anglo-Welsh Cup for Wasps, while the centre partnership sees New Hall’s Oli Morris link up with Bedford’s Fraser Strachan, who has represented Scotland at U16 level.
Turning back towards the forward pack, Ted Hill is joined in the second row by clubmate James Scott of Malvern College, while joining Marcus Street in the front row is an all Bristol Grammar School combination of Tom Rowland at loosehead and Will Capon at hooker.
Sunday’s bench looks very exciting too, joining Rigby as front row replacements are Sale Sarks’ Nic Dolly and Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth I College’s Joe Heyes.
Wellington College’s Josh Basham can cover the second and back rows, with Exeter College’s Charlie Wright covering the rest of the back row.
New College Pontefract’s Ollie Fox will cover scrum half, while there is another former Scotland U16 international in the squad in the form of Sedbergh’s Cameron Redpath, son of Scotland legend Bryan, he will likely cover 10 and 12. Completing the 23 in SGS Filton College’s Iwan Hughes.
The game will be live streamed on www.englandrugby.com and through Facebook Live on the England Rugby page.
Speaking to England Rugby ahead of Sunday’s game, England U18 Head Coach John Fletcher said:
“Our job is to support the players to reach their potential and this match is an exciting opportunity for them, the French team are unpredictable and physical so players will have to adapt throughout the game to compete.”
“We have picked an exciting wider squad who will show good attacking intent and I’m looking forward to seeing how they perform over the next six fixtures. Across these matches we will select different combinations of players allowing everyone in the squad a good opportunity to play.”
England U18 XV:
15 Elliot Obatoyinbo (Saracens & Harrow)
14 Tom Seabrook (Gloucester & Dean Close)
13 Oli Morris (Saracens & New Hall)
12 Fraser Strachan (Northampton Saints & Bedford)
11 Cadan Murley (Harlequins & Bishop Wordsworth’s)
10 Marcus Smith (Harlequins & Brighton College)
9 Will Porter (Wasps & Merchant Taylors’)
1 Tom Rowland (Bristol & Bristol Grammar)
2 Will Capon (Bristol & Bristol Grammar)
3 Marcus Street (Exeter Chiefs & Exeter College)
4 Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors & Worcester 6th form College)
5 James Scott (Worcester Warriors & Malvern College)
6 Tom Willis (Wasps & Henley College)
7 Sean Reffell (Saracens & Harrow)
8 Sam Moore (Sale Sharks & Sedbergh)
Replacements: 16 Nick Rigby (Worcester Warriors & Warwick), 17 Nic Dolly (Sale Sharks), 18 Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers & Wyggeston & QEI College), 19 Josh Basham (London Irish & Wellington College), 20 Charlie Wright (Exeter Chiefs & Exeter College), 21 Ollie Fox (Yorkshire Carnegie & New College Pontefract), 22 Cameron Redpath (Sale Sharks & Sedbergh), 23 Iwan Hughes (Bristol & SGS Filton College).
Remaining Wider Squad:
Andrew Christie, Max Coyle, Nick David, Fraser Dingwall, James Dun, Tom Hardwick, George Head, Aaron Hinkley, Cameron Kelemeti, James Kenny, Ben Loader, Arron Reed, Bevan Rodd, Joe Tunney, Kieran Verden.
England U18 Fixtures:
England U18 v France U18 – Sunday 5th March, Aylesbury RFC, 2pm kick off
England U18 v Scotland U18 – Sunday 12th March, Preston Grasshoppers RFC, 2pm kick off
England U18 v Wales U18 – Sunday 26th March, Ebbw Vale RFC, 3.45pm kick off
England U18 v Canada U18 – Saturday 8th April (U18 International Series)
England U18 v Ireland U18 – Wednesday 12th April (U18 International Series)
England U18 v Scotland U18 – Sunday 16th April (U18 International Series)