England U18 have named their side to face Scotland at Stirling County RFC on Sunday, 12pm kick off.
Head Coach John Fletcher has made 11 changes to the side that lost to France in their opening fixture of the campaign, with Sedbergh’s Bevan Rodd again at loosehead, Hartpury College’s Jacob Morris on the left wing, Exeter College’s Richard Capstick at blindside flanker, and Blundell’s Sam Maunder, at scrum half. The two Exeter Chiefs teammates, Capstick and Maunder, will co-captain the side.
Henley College’s Will Simonds also survives, but he moves from the right wing to the bench. Meanwhile four players are promoted from the bench to the starting team, Rodd’s Sale Sharks teammate Cal Ford joins him in the front row at tighthead, while Morris Hartpury College schoolmate JJ Tonks comes in on the openside flank, Cranleigh’s Harry Barlow takes Simmonds’ place on the right wing, while at full back Josh Hodge, a schoolmate of Rodd’s at Sedbergh, gets a start.
Blake Boyland of SGS Filton College covered scrum half from the bench last week and does so again this week.
Joining Rodd and Ford in the front row in Samson Ma’asi of St Joseph’s college, while behind them it is Brooksby Melton College’s George Martin and Kirkbie Kendal’s Will Montgomery in the second row. Rus Tuima joins his school and clubmate Capstick in the back row, packing down at number 8 next to Tonks.
Maunder’s half back partner is Manu Vunipola, the Harrow outside half that is a cousin to England’s Vunipola brothers. A third Hartpury College player makes the starting line up, with Jack Reeves starting at inside centre, he is inside Connor Doherty of Kirkham Grammar School. Morris, Barlow, and Hodge make up the back three.
Joining Simonds and Boyland in covering the backs on the bench is Sedbergh’s Tom Curtis. He is joined there by schoolmate Rob Farrar, one of a staggering four Sedbergh pupils in the 23.
A second Kirkham Grammar School representative, Ted Leatherbarrow, covers the back row, while Jack Bartlett of Gloucester is the replacement tighthead. Solihull’s Lewis Holsey covers loosehead, while Bloxham star Alfie Barbeary is the replacement hooker.
Speaking to www.englandrugby.com ahead of the game, John Fletcher said:
“We want to see positive intent both sides of the ball and for them to express their skills and have a good impact on the game, this is the majority of the group that will go to the Six Nations Festival in Wales later this month.”
“We meet on Friday and play on Sunday so that is a good experience for the players in terms of trying to build connections in relatively short periods of time. Playing Scotland in Scotland will be a good challenge for our side and they have shown in senior rugby and with the U20s that they are very capable. We will have to play to our very best to perform well in the game.”
“For some of the players this will be their first experience of playing for England so they should be super excited about that. This is what they’ve worked towards, they are all in good form, that is why they are in the squad. I’m really looking forward to watching them play on Sunday.”
England U18 v Scotland U18 – Sunday, 12pm, Stirling County RFC
England U18 XV:
15 Josh Hodge (Sedbergh & Newcastle Falcons)
14 Harry Barlow (Cranleigh & Harlequins)
13 Connor Doherty (Kirkham GS & Sale Sharks)
12 Jack Reeves (Hartpury College & Gloucester)
11 Jacob Morris (Hartpury College & Gloucester)
10 Manu Vunipola (Harrow & Saracens)
9 Sam Maunder (Blundell’s & Exeter Chiefs, co-captain)
1 Bevan Rodd (Sedbergh & Sale Sharks)
2 Samson Ma’asi (St Josephs College & Northampton Saints)
3 Cal Ford (Sandbach & Sale Sharks)
4 George Martin (Brooksby Melton College & Leicester Tigers)
5 Will Montgomery (Kirkbie Kendal & Newcastle Falcons)
6 Richard Capstick (Exeter College & Exeter Chiefs, co-captain)
7 JJ Tonks (Hartpury College & Gloucester)
8 Rus Tuima (Exeter College & Exeter Chiefs)
16 Alfie Barbeary (Bloxham & Wasps)
17 Lewis Holsey (Solihull & Worcester Warriors)
18 Jack Bartlett (Gloucester Rugby)
19 Rob Farrar (Sedbergh & Newcastle Falcons)
20 Ted Leatherbarrow (Kirkham GS & Sale Sharks)
21 Blake Boyland (SGS Filton College & Bristol)
22 Tom Curtis (Sedbergh & Sale Sharks)
23 Will Simonds (Henley College & Wasps)
England U18 Fixtures:
England U18 5-27 France – 3rd March
England U18 v Scotland – 18th March, Stirling County RFC, 12pm KO
England U18 v Wales – 25th March, Pontypridd RFC, 4.15pm KO
England U18 v Scotland – 31st March, Ystrad Mynach, 12pm KO (U18 6 Nations)
England U18 v Italy – 4th April, Cardiff Arms Park, 12pm KO (U18 6 Nations)
England U18 v France – 8th April, Cardiff Arms Park, 5pm KO (U18 6 Nations)