Eddie Jones today announced a 34-man England training squad with a staggering 21 of those players uncapped.
They will gather for a five day training camp on Monday, however before the England A game against Scotland A at Mattioli Woods Welford Road on Sunday 27th June, Jones will update the squad, which currently does not include players from any of the Gallagher Premiership semi finalists, or Saracens, that updated squad will include players from the semi finals, and then ahead of the two Test matches against USA (Sunday 4th July) and Canada (Saturday 10th July), he will name a further squad, for which the finalists will be available.
So much could change between now and the actual games, however this squad certainly gives an indication of Jones’ thinking – and that thinking appears to be that young and exciting is the way forward.
Indeed so young is it that four of the squad were in our British and Irish Lions ‘Cubs’ (U21) squad a few weeks ago, the once capped George Martin, his Leicester Tigers teammate Freddie Steward, Bath’s Max Ojomoh, with just one Gallagher Premiership appearance to his name, and Leicester Tigers Dan Kelly, who is still just 19 and was a part of last year’s Ireland U20 setup.
The squad will be dissected in depth across many different outlets, but with so many youngsters involved, it is worth diving into their school backgrounds, since they are so recent.
Kelly was a superstar for Kirkham Grammar School and his journey since has been fascinating, not offered a contract by Sale Sharks, he went to Loughborough University where his impressive performances earned a call by Leicester Tigers, Ireland U20, and not England. He is one of three uncapped centres in the squad, and another, Fraser Dingwall, also qualifies for another nation – he was capped by Scotland U18 as a schoolboy at Bedford, with whom he won the Champions Trophy. Alongside Kelly and Dingwall is the aforementioned Max Ojomoh, who starred for KES Bath as well as England U18 and U20. Ollie Lawrence is the experienced man in the midfield with 6 caps, the former Bromsgrove superstar will be looking forward to a role where he may be able to demand the ball.
The back three is also stacked with uncapped players, just one of the 7 potential options is capped, Bath’s Joe Cokanasiga, whose school career took place at Bushey Academy. Elsewhere there are some of the most exciting schoolboy players in recent history, Norwich School old boy Freddie Steward among them, but also London Irish’s Tom Parton, who was part of a Wellington College side in the middle of the last decade that was probably one of the greatest school sides of all time.
His London Irish teammate Ollie Hassell-Collins gets the call up, his star began to gain national attention when at St Paul’s Catholic College. Newcastle Falcons’ Adam Radwan was once a superstar for Hartlepool 6th form College, while the 29 year old Josh Bassett’s school career was at Harlington Upper. Completing Jones’ back three options is Tom de Glanville, though he will also be a fly half option. The Bath man is the son of former England captain Phil, and the final years of his school career came at Beechen Cliff as the began their ACE (or AASE as it was then) journey. Jones’ other fly half option is Wasps’ Jacob Umaga, who was part of the Leicester Tigers youth setup at Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth I College, a real production line of top players, before his move to Wasps.
Scrum half is the most experienced of the backline positions, with Wasps Dan Robson and Bath’s Ben Spencer each being capped, both are products of the AASE system, Robson at Hartpury College and Spencer at Ivybridge Community College. Joining them is former Lymm High School star Alex Mitchell, the Northampton Saint must surely be due a cap after being a part of so many squads now.
Up front Ellis Genge is the most capped player in the squad, the former Hartpury College man has 28 caps. Joining him as props in the squad are fellow loosehead Beno Obano, who won his first cap in the Six Nations and is a three time Schools Cup winner with Dulwich College. Northampton Saints’ Paul Hill is the other capped prop, he was part of the famed Prince Henry’s Grammar School front row alongside Jack Walker and Lewis Boyce. There are two uncapped props in the squad, Leicester Tigers’ Joe Heyes, another from the Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth I College production line, and Newcastle Falcons’ Trevor Davison, whose career saw him pass through Newcastle College and Blaydon RFC before turning pro.
There are just two hookers, Gloucester’s Jack Singleton and Newcastle Falcons’ Jamie Blamire, both came through the ACE system, Singleton at Oaklands College and Blamire at Gosforth Academy.
There are four outright second row options for Jones, three of them uncapped. 21 year old Chunya Munga is the youngest, the London Irish man has been highly talked of ever since his Leighton Park School days. Alongside him are Leicester Tigers’ Harry Wells, once of King’s Peterborough, and former King’s Worcester man Sean Robinson, whose bath to Newcastle Falcons has taken many a twist and turn. Charlie Ewels is the experienced man in the group, the former Bryanston skipper, and now Bath skipper, has 21 caps.
The back row features two players that could also be second row options in George Martin and Ted Hill. Both are real leaders too, former Worcester 6th form College man Hill is the Worcester Warriors skipper despite being just 21, while in 2019 Martin was one of the England U18 captains while at Brooksby Melton College.
There are four uncapped options in the back row, all four of whom came through the ACE/AASE system. Bath’s Miles Reid, who was at Beechen Cliff and has been outstanding this season, Newcastle Falcons Callum Chick, a former Gosforth Academy, England U20, and England U18 captain, Wasps’ hat-trick hero Tom Willis, the younger brother of Jack who attended Henley College like his brother, and Gloucester captain Lewis Ludlow, once of Hartpury College.
Ludlow is joined as a back row option by the man with 8 caps that is so often mistaken for him due to the similarity of their names, Lewis Ludlam, the Northampton Saints skipper. Ludlam’s 8 caps make him one of the more experienced members of the squad, but it is back row colleague and former Sir Thomas Rich’s and England U18 skipper Sam Underhill that is part of the trio of 20 cappers in the squad, who are likely to be the three captaincy candidates should this squad become the core of any matchday squad.
So many exciting young players to choose from, but which of the uncapped players in the squad are you most excited to see in an international shirt?
England Training Squad
Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, uncapped) – Norwich
Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 9 caps) – Bushey Academy
Ollie Hassell-Collins (London Irish, uncapped) – St Paul’s Catholic College
Tom de Glanville (Bath Rugby, uncapped) – Beechen Cliff
Josh Bassett (Wasps, uncapped) – Harlington Upper
Adam Radwan (Newcastle Falcons, uncapped) – Hartlepool 6th form College
Tom Parton (London Irish, uncapped) – Wellington College
Dan Kelly (Leicester Tigers, uncapped) – Kirkham Grammar
Ollie Lawrence (Worcester Warriors, 6 caps) – Bromsgrove
Max Ojomoh (Bath Rugby, uncapped) – KES Bath
Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints, uncapped) – Bedford
Jacob Umaga (Wasps, uncapped) – Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth I College
Dan Robson (Wasps, 12 caps) – Hartpury College
Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints, uncapped) – Lymm High School
Ben Spencer (Bath Rugby, 4 caps) – Ivybridge Community College
Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 28 caps) – Hartpury College
Beno Obano (Bath Rugby, 1 cap) – Dulwich College
Jack Singleton (Gloucester Rugby, 3 caps) – Oaklands College
Jamie Blamire (Newcastle Falcons, uncapped) – Gosforth Academy
Paul Hill (Northampton Saints, 5 caps) – Prince Henry’s Grammar School
Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers, uncapped) – Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth I College
Trevor Davison (Newcastle Falcons, uncapped) – Newcastle College
Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 21 caps) – Bryanston
Harry Wells (Leicester Tigers, uncapped) – King’s Peterborough
Chunya Munga (London Irish, uncapped) – Leighton Park
Sean Robinson (Newcastle Falcons, uncapped) – King’s Worcester
Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors, 1 cap) – Worcester 6th form College
George Martin (Leicester Tigers, 1 cap) – Brooksby Melton College
Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 22 caps) – Sir Thomas Rich’s
Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 8 caps) – St Joseph’s College
Tom Willis (Wasps, uncapped) – Henley College
Callum Chick (Newcastle Falcons, uncapped) – Gosforth Academy
Lewis Ludlow (Gloucester Rugby, uncapped) – Hartpury College
Miles Reid (Bath Rugby, uncapped) – Beechen Cliff