England have named their squad for their annual U18 trip to South Africa.
The 26-man squad will head to South Africa in August, playing three games. They open their tour on Friday 11th August against South Africa Schools at City Park Stadium in Athlone, before facing Wales U18 on Tuesday 14th August at Paarl Gymnasium in Paarl. They finish up on Saturday 19th August with a game against France U18 at Paul Roos in Stellenbosch.
The squad is made up of twelve backs and fourteen forwards. The back division contains Brighton College fly half Marcus Smith, who has already appeared for England U20 this year.
Joining him in the back division is a name familiar to many who enjoyed their rugby in the 90s, Tom de Glanville of Beechen Cliff, son of former England captain, Phil.
Kirkham Grammar School are represented by two players in the back line, Kieran Wilkinson and Arron Reed, with their big rivals, Sedbergh, represented by Cameron Redpath, the former Scotland U16 international, while in the forwards Sedbergh are also represented, by Sam Moore, one of last year’s tourists.
He is one of three forwards to have toured last year, with Henley College’s Tom Willis, and Worcester 6th form College’s Ted Hill, who like Smith has been capped by the U20s.
Redpath is not the only former Scotland U16 player in the squad, Bedford School centre Fraser Dingwall has also represented Scotland.
Like Sedbergh and Kirkham Gramar School, Wellington College also have two players in the squad, Sam Spink in the back division and Josh Basham up front. Beechen Cliff are also on the list of doubly represented schools, with Kieran Verden a part of the forward pack
The squad is led by John Fletcher, the Head Coach, with Peter Walton, Russell Earnshaw, and Mark Luffman assisting. Commenting on the squad and the upcoming tour, Fletcher said:
“The tour is a fantastic opportunity for these players to play in the southern hemisphere in a challenging environment, on the field, I want to see us improve in each game, we are in our off season and lots of the boys will not have had much rugby so it will take a little bit of time to get them back up to speed.”
“We’ve chosen a strong, talented group and we will only focus on ourselves, the skills and principles that we think are important for this age group within our pathway. We’re really looking forward to spending time with the players; it’s important for us coaches to get to know them both on and off the field.”
There are certainly plenty of players in the squad used to great success with their schools, including the propping duo of Warwick’s Nick Rigby and Tonbridge’s George Head. Rigby led Warwick to the NatWest Cup title, beating the Bishop Wordsworth’s side captain by England U18 centre Cadan Murley, while Head beat Dingwall’s Bedford side to the Champions Trophy title.
Beck Cutting, the Bromsgrove hooker, has plenty of winning experience with Bromsgrove’s NatWest Cup winning sides, while Richard Capstick is a member of Exeter College’s AASE winning side, the first side non-Hartpury College winners of that title.
Completing the forward pack are Bristol Grammar’s Will Capon, Millfield’s James Dun, Wygesston & QEI College’s Joe Heyes, St Peter’s Gloucester’s Aaron Hinkley, and Malvern College’s James Scott.
The backs are completed by New College’s Ollie Fox, St Paul’s Ollie Hassell-Collins, Dean Close’s Tom Seabrook, and rising star Will Porter of Merchant Taylors’, the livewire scrum half.
England U18 Squad:
Josh Basham (London Irish, Wellington College)
Will Capon (Bristol Rugby, Bristol Grammar)
Richard Capstick (Exeter Chiefs, Exeter College)
Beck Cutting (Worcester Warriors, Bromsgrove)
James Dun (Bristol Rugby, Millfield)
George Head (Harlequins, Tonbridge)
Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers, Wyggeston & QEI College)
Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors, Worcester College)
Aaron Hinkley (Gloucester Rugby, St Peter’s Gloucester)
Sam Moore (Sale Sharks, Sedbergh)
Nick Rigby (Worcester Warriors, Warwick)
James Scott (Worcester Warriors, Malvern College)
Kieran Verden (Bath Rugby, Beechen Cliff)
Tom Willis (Wasps, The Henley College)
Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints, Bedford)
Ollie Fox (Yorkshire Carnegie , New College Pontefract)
Tom de Glanville (Bath Rugby, Beechen Cliff)
Ollie Hassell-Collins (London Irish, St Paul’s)
Cadan Murley (Harlequins, Bishop Wordsworth’s)
Will Porter (Wasps, Merchant Taylors’)
Cameron Redpath (Sale Sharks, Sedbergh)
Arron Reed (Sale Sharks, Kirkham Grammar)
Tom Seabrook (Gloucester Rugby, Dean Close)
Marcus Smith (Harlequins, Brighton College)
Sam Spink (Wasps, Wellington College)
Kieran Wilkinson (Sale Sharks, Kirkham Grammar)
Friday 11 August: England U18 v South Africa Schools – City Park Stadium, Athlone
Tuesday 14 August: England U18 v Wales U18 – Paarl Gymnasium, Paarl
Saturday 19 August: England U18 v France U18 – Paul Roos, Stellenbosch