U20 Six Nations: England name squad, includes Quirke, van Poortvliet, Atkinson, Smith

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England have named their squad for the forthcoming U20 Six Nations Championships, with Head Coach Alan Dickens selecting a 32-man squad for the tournament.

The tournament will take place in its entirety in Cardiff to minimise Covid disruptions and will take place over a truncated period of time, with the five matchdays spanning just three and a half week, as a result matchday squads will consist of 26 players and high player rotation is very likely.

Dickens’ squad features 8 changes from the Elite Player Squad announced in January, Gloucester pair Louis Hillman-Cooper and Harry Taylor, once of Cheltenham College and Clifton College respectively, are called in alongside Bristol Bears’ former SGS Filton College star Jack Bates, London Irish’s Tarek Haffar, who starred for St Paul’s Catholic College in the 2019 AASE League Final, Exeter Chiefs’ Truro College old boy Arthur Relton, Saracens and former Felsted star Ollie Stonham, Samuel Whitbread Academy old boy Tom Litchfield, now at Northampton Saints, and Leicester Tigers’ Archie Vanes, who was at Brooksby Melton College alongside George Martin.

Martin is one of the eight players named in the squad in January that misses out, he misses out having been named in Eddie Jones senior England training squad, announced yesterday. Also not included from that original squad are Ben Bamber, Marcus Rhodes, Ethan Staddon, Oscar Beard, Joe Carpenter, Tommy Freeman, and Will Joseph, for a number of reasons ranging from injury, to selection, to a busy season with their club 1st XVs.

Despite losing the bulk of a year of rugby due to Covid, the squad has got some decent experience, they have faced Newcastle Falcons XV and Scotland U20 twice each, as well as games against Wales U20 and London Irish XV, while six of the players in the squad have been capped at U20 level previously, Sutton Valence old boy Harvey Beaton, now with Saracens, London Irish’s Luke Green, another former star St Paul’s Catholic College front rower, Harlequins’ Sam Riley, the former St George’s College Weybridge skipper, Wirral Grammar old boy Tom Roebuck, who has had fantastic game time with Sale Sharks, Cheltenham College’s former star Jack Clement, whose performances for Gloucester earned him a call up to the senior squad in the autumn, and Leicester Tigers scrum half Jack van Poortvliet.

The former Oakham scrum half is one of two superstar scrum halves in the squad, the other being Sale Sharks’ Raffi Quirke, both van Poortvliet and St Ambrose College old boy Quirke have been mentioned as possibilities for the senior squad this summer.

They are joined by some sizzling options at outside half too, not least Charlie Atkinson of Wasps and Worcester Warriors’ Fin Smith. Both are just a year out of school, with Abingdon old boy Atkinson in the England shadow squad in the Six Nations, and Warwick old boy Smith the youngest ever starter for Worcester Warriors.

Those two are far from the only outside half options in the squad though, with Northampton Saints’ Tommy Mathews, once of Hartpury College, Beechen Cliff old boy and Bath Rugby rising star Orlando Bailey, and Leeds Tykes’ Bishop Burton College old boy Dan Lancaster, son of former England Head Coach Stuart, all happy in the 10 shirt too, though all can play elsewhere comfortably.

In terms of outright centre options, Worcester Warriors’ former Bromsgrove skipper Seb Atkinson, Samuel Whitbread old boy Tom Litchfield, now at Northampton Saints, and the aforementioned Louis Hillman-Cooper are the options, with Roebuck also a centre option.

Meanwhile in terms of out and out back three options, two hail from Bristol Bears and played their school rugby together at SGS Filton College, Deago Bailey and Jack Bates, they are joined by Exeter Chiefs’ former Truro College star, Arthur Relton.

Up front, joining Riley and Vanes at hooker is Gloucester former Hartpury College man Ethan Hunt, while there are five props in the squad, with Newcastle Falcons’ former RGS Newcastle skipper Phil Brantingham and Worcester Warriors’ Soihull old boy Lewis Holsey joining the previously mentioned Harvey Beaton, Tarek Haffar, and Luke Green.

There are three outright second rows in the squad, Millfield leaver Ewan Richards, who made his Bath debut earlier this season, Gloucester’s Hartpury College old boy Arthur Clark, and Brisol Bears’ Alex Groves, whose school career was in South Africa at St John’s College in Johannesburg.

The back row looks deep, with the previously mentioned Clement and Stonham joined by two of Clement’s Gloucester teammates, Clifton College old boy Harry Taylor, and Dean Close leaver Freddie Thomas, who can also cover lock. Alongside them are Bath star Nahum Merigan, the former Beechen Cliff man is one to watch out for, as is Rugby School leaver Emeka Ilione of Leicester Tigers. Wellington College old boy Lucas Brooke is another to look out for, the London Irish man is the son of former New Zealand superstar Zinzan and has been progressing rapidly over the last year.

With games starting on Saturday 19th June, England will face France before fixtures against Scotland on the 25th, Ireland on the 1st July, Wales on the 7th, and finally Italy on Tuesday 13th July.
 
England men’s U20 squad for the 2021 Six Nations

Forwards (18)
Harvey Beaton (Saracens) – Sutton Valence
Phil Brantingham (Newcastle Falcons) – RGS Newcastle
Lucas Brooke (London Irish) – Wellington College
Arthur Clark (Gloucester Rugby) – Hartpury College
Jack Clement (Gloucester Rugby) – Cheltenham College
Luke Green (London Irish) – St Paul’s Catholic College
Alex Groves (Bristol Bears) – St John’s College, South Africa
Tarek Haffar (London Irish) – St Paul’s Catholic College
Lewis Holsey (Worcester Warriors) – Solihull
Ethan Hunt (Gloucester Rugby) – Hartpury College
Emeka Ilione (Leicester Tigers) – Rugby
Nahum Merigan (Bath Rugby) – Beechen Cliff
Ewan Richards (Bath Rugby) – Millfield
Sam Riley (Harlequins) – St George’s College, Weybridge
Ollie Stonham (Saracens) – Felsted
Harry Taylor (Gloucester Rugby) – Clifton College
Freddie Thomas (Gloucester Rugby) – Dean Close
Archie Vanes (Leicester Tigers) – Brooksby Melton College
 
Backs (14)
Charlie Atkinson (Wasps) – Abingdon
Seb Atkinson (Worcester Warriors) – Bromsgrove
Deago Bailey (Bristol Bears) – SGS Filton College
Orlando Bailey (Bath Rugby) – Beechen Cliff
Jack Bates (Bristol Bears) – SGS Filton College
Louis Hillman-Cooper (Gloucester Rugby) – Cheltenham College
Dan Lancaster (Leeds Tykes) – Bishop Burton College
Tom Litchfield (Northampton Saints) – Samuel Whitbread Academy
Tommy Mathews (Northampton Saints) – Hartpury College
Raffi Quirke (Sale Sharks) – St Ambrose College
Arthur Relton (Exeter Chiefs) – Truro College
Tom Roebuck (Sale Sharks) – Wirral Grammar
Fin Smith (Worcester Warriors) – Warwick
Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers) – Oakham

England men’s U20 Six Nations Fixtures (all at Cardiff Arms Park)

Saturday 19 June: England v France, KO 5pm

Friday 25 June: England v Scotland, KO 2pm

Thursday 1 July: Ireland v England, KO 8pm

Wednesday 7 July: Wales v England, KO 8pm

Tuesday 13 July: England v Italy, KO 2pm

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