England U18 have confirmed their squad and fixtures for this summer’s tour of South Africa, as the annual summer tour to South Africa returns for the first time since 2019.
As in 2019, this is the first set of games for the 2022/23 England U18 group, as opposed to the last set of games for the 2021/22 group, though there are seven players in the squad with prior England U18 experience.
Head Coach Jonathan Pendlebury has named a 26-man squad for the three game tour, with one change to that originally named back in April as Newcastle Falcons and Gosforth Academy man Isaac Keller replaces the Yorkshire Academy man Tye Raymont.
Speaking ahead of the tour, Pendlebury said: “This is an exciting tour for the players who have worked hard with their academies throughout the summer in preparation.
“We have almost a week together in South Africa to train and I know the players are really ready to make the most of the opportunities to continue learning. We are keen to explore what representing England at U18 age group level overseas is like versus facing opposition on home soil.”
The tour will see all three games played at Paarl Gymnasium, with two games against South Africa U18 and one against South Africa U18 A. The tour is bookended with the fixtures against South Africa U18, on Friday 19th August and Saturday 27th August, with the South Africa U18 A fixture taking place in midweek in between, Tuesday 23rd August.
An impressive four Sedbergh School pupils have been selected in the squad, Finn Baker, Tom Burton, and Ben Redshaw, all of Newcastle Falcons, and Will Wootton of Sale Sharks.
Stowe School see two of their Rosslyn Park HSBC National School 7s Vase winners and Schools Plate winners in the squad, Archie McParland and Henry Pollock, both of Northampton Saints. Joining them from Saints is Oakham’s Toby Cousins.
Cousins is one of the 7 previously capped players, along with McParland and Redshaw, with the others being Trinity and Harlequins’ Conor Byrne, Wasps’ Will Glister of City of Oxford College, Dean Close’s Gloucester man Ioan Jones, and Wellington College’s Rory Taylor, who is part of the London Irish Academy.
Berkhamsted’s Daily Mail Trophy winning side is represented by Wasps’ Alex O’Driscoll, while another of last year’s stars, Barnard Castle, see Newcastle Falcons’ Jacob Oliver in the squad.
Elsewhere there are three Bath representatives, Monkton Combe’s Jack Bennett, Beechen Cliff’s Billy Sela, and his schoolmate Raff Weston, while local rivals Bristol Bears have Clifton College’s Louie Trevett in the squad.
Saracens due Barney Merrett of Sutton Valence and Gravesend Grammar’s Olamide Sodeke are both in the group, so too Denstone College star George Perkins of Leicester Tigers. Exeter Chiefs’ sole player in the squad is Truro College’s George Edson, while Sale Sharks have Frank Chatterton of Stockport Grammar alongside Sebdergh’s Wootton.
The sole Yorkshire Academy man is Tom Burrow of Heckmondwike Grammar, with Worcester Warriors’ sole player in the squad being RGS Worcester’s Loic Keasey. Along with Trinity’s Byrne, Harlequins also have his big Croydon rival in this England U18 squad, Whitgift’s Sean Kerr.
Streaming details are yet to be confirmed, but it is likely that all three games will be broadcast live and details will be circulated once confirmed.
Fixtures (all at Paarl Gymnasium):
Friday 19th August – South Africa U18 v England U18 – 2.30pm BST
Tuesday 23rd August – South Africa U18 A v England U18 – 12pm BST
Saturday 27th August – South Africa U18 v England U18 – 2.30pm BST
England U18 Squad:
Finn Baker (Newcastle Falcons, Sedbergh)
Jack Bennett (Bath Rugby, Monkton Combe)
Tom Burrow (Yorkshire Academy, Heckmondwike Grammar)
Tom Burton (Newcastle Falcons, Sedbergh)
Conor Byrne (Harlequins, Trinity)*
Frank Chatterton (Sale Sharks, Stockport Grammar)
Toby Cousins (Northampton Saints, Oakham)*
George Edson (Exeter Chiefs, Truro College)
Will Glister (Wasps, City of Oxford College)*
Ioan Jones (Gloucester Rugby, Dean Close)*
Loic Keasey (Worcester Warriors, RGS Worcester)
Isaac Keller (Newcastle Falcons, Gosforth Academy)
Sean Kerr (Harlequins, Whitgift)
Archie McParland (Northampton Saints, Stowe)*
Barney Merrett (Saracens, Sutton Valence)
Alex O’Driscoll (Wasps, Berkhamsted)
Jacob Oliver (Newcastle Falcons, Barnard Castle)
George Perkins (Leicester Tigers, Denstone College)
Henry Pollock (Northampton Saints, Stowe)
Ben Redshaw (Newcastle Falcons, Sedbergh)*
Billy Sela (Bath Rugby, Beechen Cliff)
Olamide Sodeke (Saracens, Gravesend Grammar)
Rory Taylor (London Irish, Wellington College)*
Louie Trevett (Bristol Bears, Clifton College)
Raff Weston (Bath Rugby, Beechen Cliff)
Will Wootton (Sale Sharks, Sedbergh)
*Capped at U18 level in 2021/22