England and Wales have named their teams for Sunday’s U18 International at Ebbw Vale RFC (3.45pm kick off).
England U18 have won two from two so far, beating both Scotland and France, the latter of whom beat Wales in a thriller last weekend, 46-34.
England have made 12 changes to the side that beat Scotland, with three players set to make their U18 debuts, Reigate Grammar School’s Max Coyle, Kirkham Grammar School’s Kieran Wilkinson, and Beechen Cliff’s Kieran Verden.
Coyle starts on the left wing, with Harrow’s Elliott Obatoyunbo on the right wing, and Wellington College’s Ben Loader at full back, a back three that are able to interchange at will.
Loader’s opposite number it, interestingly, his Wellington College schoolmate, Dylan Moss, which should make for a fascinating battle. A third Wellington College player is also involved, Josh Basham starts on the blindside flank for England, with Exeter College’s Charlie Wright at openside, and Sedbergh’s Sam Moore at number 8.
The second row is an all Worcester Warriors’ partnership, Malvern College’s James Scott partners Ted Hill, who has also played for England U20 this season.
Alongside debutant Verden in the front row are Warwick’s Nick Rigby and Bristol Grammar School’s Will Capon.
In the backs Kieran Wilkinson’s debut is at full back, with Merchant Taylors’ Will Porter at scrum half, Bedford’s Fraser Strachan and Dean Close’s Tom Seabrook make up the centre partnership.
Speaking to www.englandrugby.com ahead of the game, England Head Coach Josh Fletcher said:
“Overall we are pleased with how we have performed and we are getting good transfer from our training sessions into the games.”
“The main aim is to improve on the last two performances and its’ a really good opportunity for the selected players to test themselves against a strong Welsh team. We have had many great games against Wales in the past and I’m excited to see how we perform on Sunday.”
Joining Dylan Moss in the Waes U18 side are a number of other fellow Exiles, including Millfield’s Rhys Davies in the second row, and Tommy Reffell of Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth I College at blindside, who interestingly shares a surname with England’s substitute back rower, Sean Reffell of Harrow.
In conversation with Wales Rugby ahead of the game, Wales U18 Head Coach Geraint Lewis said:
“It was an excellent experience for the players out in France, to play in a rugby hotbed like Lyon, in front of a big crowd, is exactly why we put these games on. Although we conceded 46 points, we weren’t far off matching that number ourselves, so it’s very positive from that perspective. Over the course of the coming weeks, we’re looking to continue to expose more players to this international environment to increase our strength in depth.”
“It’s our last game of these standalone fixtures, therefore we want to head into the upcoming U18 International Series with some momentum. Our annual fixture against England is always a big challenge and it’s important we play the best age group teams in the world – and England are certainly one of them. The high conversion rate of Welsh players from the U18 pathway to U20, regional and international senior level is testament to the programme’s effectiveness, and we’re out to continue that trend.”
Wales U18 v England U18 – Sunday 26th March, 3.45pm kick off – Live on S4C
England U18 XV
15 Ben Loader (London Irish, Wellington College)
14 Elliott Obatoyinbo (Saracens, Harrow)
13 Tom Seabrook (Gloucester, Dean Close)
12 Fraser Strachan (Northampton Saints, Bedford)
11 Max Coyle (Harlequins, Reigate Grammar)
10 Kieran Wilkinson (Sale Shark, Kirkham Grammar)
9 Will Porter (Wasps, Merchant Taylors’)
1 Nick Rigby (Worcester Warriors, Warwick)
2 Will Capon (Bristol, Bristol Grammar)
3 Kieran Verden (Bath, Beechen Cliff)
4 Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors, Worcester 6th form College)
5 James Scott (Worcester Warriors, Malvern College)
6 Josh Basham (London Irish, Wellington College)
7 Charlie Wright (Exeter Chiefs, Exeter College)
8 Sam Moore (Sale Sharks, Sedbergh)
Replacements: 16 Nic Dolly (Sale Sharks), 17 Tom Rowland (Bristol, Bristol Grammar), 18 Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers, Wyggeston & QEI College), 19 Joe Tunney (Wasps, Dr Challoners), 20 Sean Reffell (Saracens, Harrow), 21 Ollie Fox (Yorkshire Carnegie, New College Pontefract), 22 Cameron Redpath (Sale Sharks, Sedbergh), 23 Nick David (Worcester Warriors, Warwick).
Wales U18 XV
15 Dylan Moss (Ospreys/Wellington College)
14 James McCarthy (Dragons/Caerleon/Newport High NHSOB)
13 Ben Cambriani (Ospreys/Gower College/Gowerton)
12 Ben Thomas (Blues/Cardiff and Vale College)
11 Dewi Cross (Ospreys/Neath Port Talbot College/Pencoed)
10 Cai Evans (Ospreys/Cowbridge Comprehensive/Cowbridge)
9 Harri Morgan (Ospreys/Llangynwyd/Bryncethin)
1 Rhys Davies (Scarlets/Coleg Sir Gar/Carmarthen Quins)
2 Morgan Nelson (Exiles/Hartpury College/Hereford)
3 Ben Warren (Blues/Coleg y Cymoedd/Treorchy)
4 Rhys Davies (Exiles/Millfield/Bath)
5 Will Griffiths (c) (Ospreys/Gowerton School/Gowerton)
6 Tommy Reffell (Exiles/Wyygeston and Queen Elizabeth Leicester/Pencoed)
7 Dan Davis (Scarlets/Coleg Sir Gar/Scarlets Academy)
8 Joe Miles (Blues/Radyr/Cardiff and Vale/Cardiff)
Replacements: 16 Jordan Walters (Ospreys/Neath Port Talbot College/Cwmafan), 17 Will Griffiths (Dragons/Coleg Gwent/Newbridge), 18 Llyr Green (Scarlets/Coleg Sir Gar/Amman United), 19 Alun Lawrence (Blues/Coleg y Cymoedd/Llantrisant), 20 Dan Owen (RGC/Rydal School/Cobra RGC), 21 Dan Babos (Dragons/Croesyceiliog/Pontypool United), 22 Callum Carson (Ospreys/Gower College/Gowerton), 23 Ioan Davies (Blues/Glantaf/St Peter’s).