England U18: Squad Named to face France | 15 uncapped players called up

With the U18 Six Nations Festival approaching fast, England Head Coach Jonathan Pendlebury and assistant Will Parkin have named their squad for a pre-tournament fixture against France.


The two sides will meet in France at Rugby Tango Chalonnais on Saturday 9th March for a 4pm (GMT) kick off in the Bourgogne-FranceComté region of France.


Pendlebury and Parkin have named a 24-man squad for the game, with nine of the squad already capped at U18 International level, most recently in the U18 International Series in South Africa in August 2023, where England beat France in a staggering performance, 41-0.


Involved in that series were Bath’s U18 skipper Connor Treacey, of Beechen Cliff, who lifted the Premiership Rugby U18 Academy League title a couple of weeks ago, Sale Sharks’ Toby Wilson (King’s Macclesfield) and wonder fly half Ollie Davies (Kirkham Grammar School), Gloucester and Hartpury College back row Solomon Shand, Exeter Chiefs’ Nick Lilley of Exeter College, and a superb Saracens quartet that includes their co-captains Angus Hall (The Judd) and Tayo Adegbemile (St Albans), Adegbemile’s St Albans teammate Jack Bracken, and Harrow’s Charlie Griffin.


11 of the sides competing in the Premiership Rugby U18 Academy League are represented and nineteen different schools, with Kirkham Grammar School featuring the most players of any school with their three Sale Sharks, Sale skipper Seb Kelly, Jos Gilmore, and the previously mentioned Davies. Those three, alongside Toby Wilson, help make Sale Sharks the joint-most represented Academy, with four players.


Saracens and Northampton Saints also have four players, all four of Saracens’, as previously mentioned, have been capped previously, while Northampton Saints’ contingent is all new, consisting of Bedford duo Aiden Ainsworth-Cave and Jonny Weimann, Ipswich’s Tom Dye, and and Stowe’s Rafe Witheat.


Brooksby Melton College are the only other school with two players in the squad, Leicester Tigers pair Bronson Kingsley-Mellowes and Tubuna Maka. Despite winning the league Bath also have just two in the squad, as mentioned their skipper Connor Treacey, and their star fly half from Kingswood, James Lineger. Exeter Chiefs have two players in the squad, Truro College’s Josh Mann joining clubmate Lilley in the squad, and Newcastle Falcons also have two representatives, their skipper Patrick Hogg of Durham and Barnard Castle’s Joe Davis.


Gloucester, Harlequins, Midlands Central, and Midlands West each have one player each in the squad, which first met last week at Bisham Abbey for a four-day development camp. Hartpury College’s Solomon Shand represents Gloucester, with Seaford College’s Jimmy Staples of Harlequins also in, City of Oxford College’s George Peason is also selected, alongside Midlands West’s George Knowles of Hereford Cathedral School.


Once this fixture is completed, attention will move towards the U18 Six Nations Festival, which includes Georgia and Portugal this year, with England playing Wales, Scotland, and Georgia at the tournament, which will take place in Parma, Italy.


Speaking at the announcement of the squad, Jonathan Pendlebury said: “Myself, Will and the staff are really excited to bring this new cohort into the U18 level here at England Rugby. We’re aiming to give them positive experiences on and off the field, with what promises to be a really exciting trip across the Channel.”

“In what will be our first outing of the season, France pose a great challenge for us to overcome and will prepare us nicely for our trip to Parma next month. This is a fantastic opportunity to not only prepare for our U18 Six Nations Festival, but also to implement our core values of exploration and adaptation as we ready these young men to excel as England internationals.”


England U18 Men’s Squad v France


Tayo Adegbemile (Saracens, St Albans)*
Aiden Ainsworth-Cave (Northampton Saints, Bedford)
Tom Dye (Northampton Saints, Ipswich)
Jos Gilmore (Sale Sharks, Kirkham GS)
Patrick Hogg (Newcastle Falcons, Durham)
Seb Kelly (Sale Sharks, Kirkham GS)
George Knowles (Midlands West, Hereford Cathedral)
Tubuna Maka (Leicester Tigers, Brooksby Melton)
Josh Mann (Exeter Chiefs, Truro College)
Bronson Kingsley-Mellowes (Leicester Tigers, Brooksby Melton)
Solomon Shand (Gloucester Rugby, Hartpury College)*
Jimmy Staples (Harlequins, Seaford College)
Connor Treacey (Bath Rugby, Beechen Cliff)*


Jack Bracken (Saracens, St Albans)*
Ollie Davies (Sale Sharks, Kirkham GS)*
Joe Davis (Newcastle Falcons, Barnard Castle)
Charlie Griffin (Saracens, Harrow)*
Angus Hall (Saracens, The Judd)*
Nick Lilley (Exeter Chiefs, Exeter College)*
James Linegar (Bath Rugby, Kingswood)
George Pearson (Midlands Central, City of Oxford College)
Jonny Weimann (Northampton Saints, Bedford)
Toby Wilson (Sale Sharks, Kings Macclesfield)*
Rafe Witheat (Northampton Saints, Stowe)

*denotes a player previously capped at U18 level

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