England have named a 40-man U18 Development row their October half term training camp.
Taking place at Bisham Abbey National Sports centre, the group will come together from the 28th to the 31st October as they prepare for the U18 Internationals and U18 Six Nations Festival after Christmas.
Officially now the England U18 season starts at the August tour of South Africa, where in this year’s U18 International Series England faced Argentina, France, and South Africa Schools. At the time they were led by Jim Mallinder, but with the former Northampton Saints boss heading to the Scottish Rugby Union, there will be a bit of a coaching shake up.
21 of the group that toured South Africa are included in this 40-man squad, including Wellington College’s Fin Baxter and Rugby School’s Emeka Ilione, who both captained the side
Ilione is of three Rugby School players in the group of 22 forwards selected, Robin Hardwick and Ben Muncaster joining him as Rugby clearly reap the rewards of their superb start to the season. They are three of six Leicester Tigers in the back, with Leicester Grammar’s Jack Rowntree, Brooksby Melton College’s Archie Vanes, and Oakham’s Kit Smith joining them, Smith and Vanes also toured with Ilione in the summer. Tigers have a seventh member of the squad in the backline, Ollie Smith from Denstone College, who have also started the year well.
In all 13 of the RFU Academies are represented, Gloucester are the closest to matching Leicester’s numbers with 5 players in the squad. Clifton College, Dean Close, and Hartpury College have all started the season superbly well and are represented by Harry Taylor, Freddie Thomas, and Arthur Clark in the forwards, both Taylor and Thomas toured in the summer. In the backs they have a second Dean Close representative, Matty Jones, while Cheltenham College’s Louis Hillman-Cooper also represents Gloucester after starring in South Africa.
Hillman-Cooper was one of our list of “Five to Watch” in South Africa, as was Fin Baxter, and indeed all five are included in the squad. Beechen Cliff’s Orlando Bailey and Millfield’s Will Joseph are included alongside Abingdon’s Charlie Atkinson in the backs.
Joseph is the only one five London Irish players on that tour to return to the squad in October. However his fellow Millfield pupil Ewan Richards does return. Richards, like Bailey, is at Bath, who are well represented in the squad Ethan Staddon and John Stewart are also selected and, alongside Bailey, give Beechen Cliff three players in the squad.
Alongside Rugby, Millfield, and Dean Close, Cranleigh are the only other school with more than one representative, with Will Trenholm and Oscar Beard both in the squad, as they were in South Africa. In total there are 21 schools (non-AASE) represented in the squad, with seventeen of those schools having a solitary representative, the distribution of quality and then depth of competition is really reflected in this England U18 squad.
On the AASE side seven of the fourteen colleges are represented. Like Beechen Cliff, Exeter College and Filton College have tree players each in the squad, Harry Willkinson, Tom Cairns, and Archie Hill, and Charlie Rice, Chay Mullins, and Deago Bailey respectively, all are in for the first time. Gosforth Academy have two players, Drew Thompson comes in and Matthew Ward retains this place after touring in August.
No doubt the squad will change somewhat as we head towards the fixtures in the New Year, but this group of 40 looks set to be the bulk of the group that will be wearing white into 2021.
England U18 Development Squad (*denotes U18 International Series tourist):
Phil Brantingham (RGS Newcastle & Newcastle Falcons)*
Jack Rowntree (Leicester GS & Leicester Tigers)
Drew Thompson (Gosforth Academy & Newcastle Falcons)
John Stewart (Beechen Cliff & Bath)*
Archie Vanes (Brooksby Melton College & Leicester Tigers)*
Ethan Caine (Kirkham GS & Sale Sharks)
Fin Baxter (Wellington College & Harlequins)*
Robin Hardwick (Rugby & Leicester Tigers)
Harry Wilkinson (Exeter College & Exeter Chiefs)
Ewan Richards (Millfield & Bath)*
Charlie Rice (SGS Filton College & Bristol Bears)
Freddie Thomas (Dean Close & Gloucester)*
Ewan Murphy (Lymm HS & Sale Sharks)
Arthur Clark (Hartpury College & Gloucester)
Emeka Ilione (Rugby & Leicester Tigers)*
Ethan Staddon (Beechen Cliff & Bath)*
Daniel Eckersley (Bloxham & Wasps)*
Harry Taylor (Clifton College & Gloucester)*
Toby Knight (Berkhamsted & Saracens)
Kit Smith (Oakham & Leicester Tigers)*
Will Trenholm (Cranleigh & Harlequins)*
Ben Muncaster (Rugby & Leicester Tigers)
Sam Bryan (Felsted & Saracens)*
Matty Jones (Dean Close & Gloucester)
Tom Cairns (Exeter College & Exeter Chiefs)
Charlie Atkinson (Abingdon & Wasps)*
Orlando Bailey (Beechen Cliff & Bath)*
Finlay Smith (Warwick & Worcester Warriors)
Chay Mullins (SGS Filton College & Bristol Bears)
Brandon Jackson (Sutton Valence & Saracens)
Oscar Beard (Cranleigh & Harlequins)*
Ethan Grayson (Northampton SfB & Northampton Saints)*
Louis Hillman-Cooper (Cheltenham College & Gloucester)*
Will Joseph (Millfield & London Irish)*
Joe Bedlow (Myerscough College & Sale Sharks)
Archie Hill (Exeter College & Exeter Chiefs)
Matthew Ward (Gosforth Academy & Newcastle Falcons)*
Deago Bailey (SGS Filton College & Bristol Bears)
Oliver Melville (Sedbergh & Sale Sharks)*
Ollie Smith (Denstone College & Leicester Tigers)