England U18: Squad named for men’s U18 International v France | Saturday, 12.30pm, Esher RFC

England have named their U18 XV to take on France at Esher RFC on Saturday, with a 24-man squad named for the 12.30pm kick off.


Head Coach Jon Pendlebury has named 12 debutants in the squad, which is led by Stowe and Northampton Saints openside Henry Pollock, who continues in the role after some stellar performances in the summer tour of South Africa.


Pollock is part of an experienced pack, with six players involved with previous England U18 experience. Alongside him in the back row are Bath and Monkton Combe flanker Jack Bennett, and Epsom College’s Lucas Schmid, the Harlequins number 8 makes his debut.


In the second row are the experienced Finn Baker of Sedbergh and Newcastle Falcons and the Yorkshire Academy skipper Tom Burrow of Heckmondwicke Grammar. The front row meanwhile sees the previously capped Louie Trevett of Bristol Bears and Clifton College and Billy Sela of Bath and Beechen Cliff propping, while at hooker there is a debut for the incredibly exciting Harrow star Kepu Tuipulotu, the London Irish man is a player to keep a real eye on.


There are three debutants in the backs, Millfield captain Ieuan Davies, of Bath, starts at scrum half, with Solihull and Midlands West star Jack Kinder on the left wing and RGS Guildford’s Tom Humphreys of Harlequins on the right.


Humphreys is joined by two experienced Harlequins teammates, Whitgift’s Sean Kerr at inside centre and Trinity’s Conor Byrne at full back.


Two of the team’s top performers from the summer, Rory Taylor and Ben Redshaw will be key players in the backs. Wellington College and London Irish star Taylor is at fly half, with Sedbergh skipper Redshaw at outside centre as he is for his school rather than full back as he often is for Newcastle Falcons.


On the bench there are seven likely debuts, Leicester Tigers and Denstone College hooker Harry Clarke, London Irish and Bishop Wand’s Ralph McEachran, and Yorkshire Academy and Bishop Burton College’s Tye Raymont in the front row, Saracens and Finborough’s Junior Kpoku in the second row, and Midlands Central and Berkhamsted star Reuben Logan in the back row.


Covering the backs and looking to make their debuts are Kirkham Grammar and Sale Sharks fly half Ollie Davies and Harlequins and Bhasvic centre Frank McMillan, alongside the previously capped Sedbergh and Sale Sharks scrum half Will Wootton and Gloucester and Dean Close full back Ioan Jones.


Speaking ahead of the game, Jon Pendlebury said: “Well done to the twelve players who will pull on an England shirt for the first time this Saturday. We’ve selected a team with previous international experience, including many who toured South Africa last year, as well as players who we feel will wear the rose with pride and play well at this level.

“The squad has had excellent preparation and time to bond during our development camps as we built towards our 2023 season, which kickstarts against France at Molesey Road. Schools, colleges, junior and community clubs, and academies have also put in a mountain of work to help prepare their players for what will forever be a highlight of their individual rugby journeys.

“France is a strong rugby nation and our matchday 24 is relishing the opportunity to take to the pitch against them, while pushing the boundaries of their own abilities.”


England U18 XV vs France:

15 Conor Byrne (Harlequins, Trinity)
14 Tom Humphreys (Harlequins, RGS Guildford)
13 Ben Redshaw (Newcastle Falcons, Sedbergh)
12 Sean Kerr (Harlequins, Whitgift)
11 Jack Kinder (Midlands West, Solihull)
10 Rory Taylor (London Irish, Wellington College)
9 Ieuan Davies (Bath Rugby, Millfield)

1 Louie Trevett (Bristol Bears, Clifton College)
2 Kepu Tuipulotu (London Irish, Harrow)
3 Billy Sela (Bath, Beechen Cliff)
4 Finn Baker (Newcastle Falcons, Sedbergh)
5 Tom Burrow (Yorkshire Academy, Heckmondwike Grammar)
6 Jack Bennett (Bath, Monkton Combe)
7 Henry Pollock (Northampton Saints, Stowe, captain)
8 Lucas Schmid (Harlequins, Epsom College)

Replacements: 16 Harry Clarke (Leicester Tigers, Denstone College), 17 Ralph McEachran (London Irish, Bishop Wand), 18 Tye Raymont (Yorkshire Academy, Bishop Burton College), 19 Junior Kpoku (Saracens, Finborough), 20 Reuben Logan (Midlands Central, Berkhamsted), 21 Will Wootton (Sale Sharks, Sedbergh), 22 Ollie Davies (Sale Sharks, Kirkham Grammar), 23 Frank McMillan (Harlequins, BHASVIC), 24 Ioan Jones (Gloucester, Dean Close).

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