England U18 take on France U18 at the Stade Jean Rolland in Digne-les-Bains this Saturday, 2pm kick off GMT.
Head Coach John Fletcher has named his side for the game, which includes five players from the squad that toured South Africa back in August.
Among those five are Bristol Grammar School’s Will Capon at hooker and Wellington College’s Sam Spink at inside centre, they will share the captaincy between them on Saturday afternoon.
Joining those two as veterans of the U18 side are Bath full back/fly half, Tom De Glanville. The son of the former England captain starts at full back, with Kirkham Grammar School’s Kieran Wilkinson, another U18 veteran, at fly half. Exeter College’s Richard Capstick starts at blindside, and is another that was on that South Africa tour.
Joining Spink, Wilkinson, and De Glanville in the backline is Bromsgrove’s Ollie Lawrence, who appeared for England U20 a week ago against Scotland. Completing the backline are Henley College’s Will Simmonds and Hartpury College’s Jacob Morris on the wings, while Blundell’s and Exeter Chiefs U18 captain Sam Maunder, the younger brother of Jack who toured with England last summer, at scrum half.
Up front Capstick is joined in the back row by Wilkinson’s Kirkham Grammar School teammate Sam Dugdale at openside, while Gosforth Academy’s Tom Marshall is at number 8.
Linking up with Capon in the front row is Sedbergh star Bevan Rodd at loosehead, one of five Sale Sharks in the 23. At tighthead is a second Exeter College pupil, Alfie Petch. De Glanville’s Beechen Cliff teammate Tom Jeanes is in the second row, where he links up with Oakham’s Cameron Jordan.
The bench meanwhile sees Hartpury College’s Olly Adkins and Sandbach’s Cal Ford covering the props, while Haileybury star Kapeli Pifeleti covers hooker.
Bevan Rodd’s Sedbergh schoolmate Rouban Birch covers the second row, while Harptury’s JJ Tonks, one of three from the school in the squad, covers the back row.
The backline replacements are SGS Filton College’s Blake Boyland, Cranleigh’s Harry Barlow, and a remarkable third Sedbergh representative, Josh Hodge, who recently signed a pro contract with Newcastle Falcons.
Speaking to www.englandrugby.com ahead of the game, Head Coach John Fletcher said:
“Our training camp last week was exciting and it was great seeing the players starting to connect with each other in preparation for our games over the next few months, we want to see the players express themselves on Saturday and to try and find different ways to score tries and get the ball back which ties into our principles around attack and defence.”
“It will be a good experience and a great challenge for the players to play France in France and it’s exciting to be playing our first fixture of the season.”
“It’s been a long time since our last game in South Africa at the end of August. We have a camps before Christmas and then watch and monitor the players through the U18 academy league, so we are all looking forward to seeing this group of players taking on France.”
The game can be seen live via the following link: England U18 v France U18 – Live Stream
Following this game England will take on Scotland on the 18th March, Wales on the 25th March, and will then head into the Six Nations Festival, where they will face Scotland, Italy, and France.
England U18 v France U18 – Saturday 3rd March – Digne-les-Bains, 2pm GMT
England U18 XV
15 Tom de Glanville (Bath & Beechen Cliff)
14 Will Simonds (Wasps & The Henley College)
13 Ollie Lawrence (Worcester Warriors & Bromsgrove)
12 Sam Spink (Wasps & Wellington College)
11 Jacob Morris (Gloucester & Hartpury College)
10 Kieran Wilkinson (Sale Sharks & Kirkham Grammar)
9 Sam Maunder (Exeter Chiefs & Blundell’s)
1 Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks & Sedbergh)
2 Will Capon (Bristol & Bristol Grammar)
3 Alfie Petch (Exeter Chiefs & Exeter College)
4 Tom Jeanes (Bath & Beechen Cliff)
5 Cameron Jordan (Leicester Tigers & Oakham)
6 Richard Capstick (Exeter Chiefs & Exeter College)
7 Sam Dugdale (Sale Sharks & Kirkham Grammar)
8 Tom Marshall (Newcastle Falcons & Gosforth Academy)
16 Kapeli Pifeleti (Saracens & Haileybury)
17 Olly Adkins (Gloucester & Hartpury College)
18 Cal Ford (Sale Sharks & Sandbach)
19 Rouban Birch (Sale Sharks & Sedbergh)
20 JJ Tonks (Gloucester & Hartpury College)
21 Blake Boyland (Bristol & SGS Filton College)
22 Josh Hodge (Newcastle Falcons & Sedbergh)
23 Harry Barlow (Harlequins & Cranleigh)
England U18 Fixtures:
England U18 v Scotland – 18th March, Stirling County RFC, 12pm KO
England U18 v Wales – 25th March, Pontypridd RFC, 4.15pm KO
England U18 v Scotland – 31st March, Ystrad Mynach, 12pm KO
England U18 v Italy – 4th April, Cardiff Arms Park, 12pm KO
England U18 v France – 8th April, Cardiff Arms Park, 5pm KO