England have named their U19 side to face France tomorrow at the Stade Jules Ladoumègue in Massy, 6.30pm kick off.
Made up of a few players from the England U18 squad that head into the U18 International Series in April, plus some of the younger members of the U20 Grand Slam winning group, and a few players that are not yet in the U20 set up part are too old for the U18 programme, the 23-man squad looks like yet another exciting England age-group side.
The backline is heavily influenced by that U20 crop, with Jacob Umaga starting at inside centre, Rory Brand at scrum half, and Gabriel Ibitoye, last year’s England U18 captian, on the wing, all of whom played a role in the U20 Grand Slam, while James Grayson, selected at fly half, trained with the U20 group.
England U18 full back Ben Loader is given a start, he is joined in the backline by Matt Williams at inside centre. Williams was a schoolmate of Loader’s at Wellington College last year, as was Brand, and Loader will join both at London Irish next season.
Levi Davis, formerly of Denstone College and now starring for Hartpury College in their National Division 1 winning campaign, completes the backline, he starts on the left wing.
The front row is made up of three players that all played their part in the U20 Grand Slam, Alex Seville at loosehead, Joseph Morris, who also played in this season’s Varsity Match, at tighthead, and Seville’s Gloucester teammate, Henry Walker, at hooker.
Ted Hill of Worcester 6th form College starts in the second row, this will be his third England age-grade side since Christmas having already starred for both the U18s and U20s this season. He is joined in the second row by Newcastle Falcons’ Josh Williams, who was a member of last year’s England U18 squad.
So too was Dino Lamb-Cona, who last year won the Rosslyn Park HSBC National School 7s with Cranleigh, a feat they repeated this year. The Harlequins man comes in at blindside, with Yorkshire Carnegie’s Lewis Wilson at openside, while Sedbergh’s Sam Moore, a member of the U18 squad, starts at number 8.
On the bench former Millfield star Gabriel Oghre, who played for England U18 last year, covers hooker, with Toby Trinder covering loosehead, and Gloucester Ciaran Knight, another member of the victorious U20 squad, covering tighthead.
Elliott Ward covers the second row, while Charlie Wright of Exeter College will cover the back row, the young openside has featured twice for England U18 so far this term.
Merchant Taylors’ captain Will Porter will cover scrum half, in addition to his school, Porter has also captained England U18 and Wasps U18 this season, and has also appeared for Wasps in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.
Harrow and England u18 full back/wing Elliott Obatoyinbo is also on the bench, as is Warwick full back Nick David, who caps a wonderful few weeks having played for England U18, won the U18 NatWest Cup in style, and now gets the chance to earn an England U19 cap.
The squad is coached by England Player Pathway Coach Peter Walton, and Newcastle Falcons’ Mark Laycock, with Walton saying to www.englandrugby.com ahead of the game:
“It is hugely important that we continue to look at a wide pool of players and this match offers us the opportunity to challenge them in a new environment, facing France away from home will be a good experience for these players and we know we can expect a physical test, so I’m excited to see how they perform.”
France U19 v England U19 – Saturday 1st April, Stade Jules Ladoumègue, Massy, 6.30pm kick off
England U19 XV:
15 Ben Loader (London Irish)
14 Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins)
13 Matt Williams (London Irish)
12 Jacob Umaga (Wasps)
11 Levi Davis (Hartpury)
10 James Grayson (Northampton Saints)
9 Rory Brand (London Irish)
1 Alex Seville (Gloucester)
2 Henry Walker (Gloucester)
3 Joseph Morris (Worcester Warriors)
4 Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors)
5 Josh Williams (Newcastle Falcons)
6 Dino Lamb-Cona (Harlequins)
7 Lewis Wilson (Yorkshire Carnegie)
8 Sam Moore (Sale Sharks)
Replacements: 16 Gabriel Oghre (Bath), 17 Toby Trinder (Northampton Saints), 18 Ciaran Knight (Gloucester), 19 Elliott Ward (Yorkshire Carnegie), 20 Charlie Wright (Exeter Chiefs), 21 Will Porter (Wasps), 22 Elliott Obatoyinbo (Saracens), 23 Nick David (Worcester Warriors).