England have named their squad for the forthcoming U18 6 Nations Festival, hosted at Hartpury College.
The tournament take place across three matchdays, 13th April, 17th April, and 21st April, with Hartpury College’s Gillman’s Ground the venue for the first round of games, Worcester Warriors’ Sixways Stadium the venue for the second, and Gloucester’s Kingsholm Stadium for the final round of games.
Head Coach Jim Mallinder has named a 26-man squad for the competition, which will all be shown live on FreeSports.
22 of the 26 have already played for the U18 side in the last month’s victorious encounter’s against France U18 and Scotland U18, with Sedbergh’s Tom Curtis, Cheltenham College’s Jack Clement, and St Ambrose College’s Raphael Quirke all also playing for the England U19 side in their 31-15 victory over Wales U19 on Sunday.
Brooksby Melton College’s second row George Martin will likely captain the side having already done so and having played in last year’s Festival. He also featured for England U18 in the U18 Aon International Series in South Africa back in August alongside Clement, Curtis, and Quirke, as well as SGS Filton College’s Jack Bates, Sutton Valence’s Harvey Beaton, St Paul’s Catholic College’s Phil Cokanasiga, Beechen Cliff’s Nahum Merigan, St George’s College’s Sam Riley, and Wirral Grammar’s Tom Roebuck.
Indeed only two of the squad are yet to feature for England U18 this season, Woodhouse Grove’s Joe Carpenter and Felsted’s Ollie Stonham.
Bath and Gloucester share the honours for the most representatives in the squad, with five of their players each in the squad. Four of Beechen Cliff’s five are from one school, Beechen Cliff, double that of any other school. Nahum Merigan, George Worboys, John Stewart, and the talented Orlando Bailey are their representatives, Millfield’s Ewan Richards completes the Bath contingent.
Gloucester’s five sees two players each from Cheltenham College and Dean Close, Jack Clement and Louis Hillman-Cooper from Cheltenham with Archie Benson and Josh Gray from Dean Close. Hartpury College’s Harry Fry is the fifth Gloucester player.
Fry and the four Beechen Cliff players are five of the nine players at AASE College’s in the squad, which also includes Bristol Bears’ sole representative, Jack Bates of SGS Filton College, Phil Cokanasiga and Luke Green both of London Irish and St Paul’s Catholic College, and the experienced Martin of Brooksby Melton College and Leicester Tigers.
Martin will have two of his Leicester Tigers clubmates in the squad with him, Denstone College’s Joe Browning and Oakham’s Jack van Poortvliet.
Leicester’s East Midlands rivals Northampton Saints are one of four academy sides with no players in the squad, Exeter Chiefs, Newcastle Falcons, and Worcester Warriors being the others.
Like Tigers, Sale Sharks have three players in the squad, Wirral Grammar School’s Tom Roebuck joining clubmates Curtis and Quirke in the 26. Harlequins also have three, St George’s Sam Riley, Cranleigh’s Will Trenholm, and Wellington College’s Fin Baxter.
Saracens have two players in the side, Sutton Valenc’s Harvey Beaton and Felsted’s likely debutant Ollie Stonham, while Yorkshire Carnegie’s Joe Carpenter of Woodhouse Grove is their sole representative, so too Caterham’s Jude Williams for Wasps.
England’s campaign starts at 12.10pm on Saturday against Wales U18, with Ireland up on Wednesday 17th at 1.40pm. England’s campaign finishes on Sunday 21st April against France, again at 1.40pm.
The squad is led by Mallinder, with Jonathan Fisher, Mark Luffman, and Sean Marsden as assistant coaches, head of regional academies, Don Barrell, will oversee the tournament.
Speaking to www.englandrugby.com at the squad announcement, Mallinder said:
“Selecting this group has been a gradual process, we took a portion of this squad to South Africa in August and along with players who have impressed us over the course of the season through performances at school and their academies we have a picked a strong 26 for the festival.”
“This will be a unique experience for these players where they will play three international fixtures over the course of two weeks while staying in camp together. We’ve had a one-off fixture against Scotland with the majority of this group but this will be different as we have the players for longer so we want to build as a team and them to develop as players.”
“This will be a different environment, the players will be living alongside their opponents, playing against them while also experiencing a number of off-field activities with their peers which will be fascinating for both players and coaches.”
England U18 6 Nations Festival squad:
Orlando Bailey (Bath & Beechen Cliff)
Jack Bates (Bristol Bears & SGS Filton College)
Fin Baxter (Harlequins & Wellington College)
Harvey Beaton (Saracens & Sutton Valence)
Archie Benson (Gloucester & Dean Close)
Joe Browning (Leicester Tigers & Denstone College)
Joe Carpenter (Yorkshire Carnegie & Woodhouse Grove)
Jack Clement (Gloucester & Cheltenham College)
Phil Cokanasiga (London Irish & St Paul’s Catholic College)
Tom Curtis (Sale Sharks & Sedbergh)
Harry Fry (Gloucester & Hartpury College)
Josh Gray (Gloucester & Dean Close)
Luke Green (London Irish & St Paul’s Catholic College)
Louis Hillman-Cooper (Gloucester & Cheltenham College)
George Martin (Leicester Tigers & Brooksby Melton College)
Nahum Merigan (Bath & Beechen Cliff)
Raphael Quirke (Sale Sharks & St Ambrose College)
Ewan Richards (Bath & Millfield)
Sam Riley (Harlequins & St George’s, Weybridge)
Tom Roebuck (Sale Sharks & Wirral GS)
John Stewart (Bath & Beechen Cliff)
Ollie Stonham (Saracens & Felsted)
Will Trenholm (Harlequins & Cranleigh)
Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers & Oakham)
Jude Williams (Wasps & Caterham)
George Worboys (Bath & Beechen Cliff)
U18 6 Nations Festival Fixtures (all live on FreeSports):
Matchday 1 – Saturday 13th April, Gillman’s Ground, Hartpury College
England v Wales – 12.10pm
Ireland v France – 2.40pm
Scotland v Italy – 5.10pm
Matchday 2 – Wednesday 17th April, Sixways, Worcester Warriors
France v Italy – 11.10am
Ireland v England – 1.40pm
Wales v Scotland – 4.10pm
Matchday 3 – Sunday 21st April, Kingsholm, Gloucester
Scotland v Ireland – 11.10am
England v France – 1.40pm
Italy v Wales – 4.10pm