England have named their 45-man U20 squad for their training camp at Loughborough University this weekend, Friday 30th November – Sunday 2nd December.
The camp is labeled a development camp and will undoubtedly focus around the skill and game development of each player, but it will also undoubtedly form the basis from which the squad for the U20 squad for the Six Nations will be selected from, one would think, as there is an Elite Player squad of 32 to be named in January.
Head Coach Steve Bates leads the squad, with Jim Mallinder also a part of the pathway coaching team. Mark Hopley, Richard Whiffin, and James Scaysbrook will also be a part of the coaching team as part of the coach development programme agreed between the RFU and Premiership Rugby.
All fourteen of the Premiership Rugby Academies are represented, the twelve Gallagher Premiership clubs plus London Irish and Yorkshire Carnegie from the Greene King IPA Championship. Durham University are also represented through former Wellington College skipper Josh Basham, the back row forward who was at London Irish last season before opting to take up a place at the University.
25 of the 45 are forwards, but in terms of the number the most impressive is the eight members of the squad from Sale Sharks, including a staggering six of the backs in the squad. Nic Dolly and former Sedbergh star Bevan Rodd are in the forwards from the Sale contingent, while in the backs is array of attacking Sale talent is incredible, Gus Warr at scrum half, Kieran Wilkinson at outside half, Cameron Redpath as an inside centre, Connor Doherty as an outside centre, Luke James in the centres too, and Aaron Reed on the wing.
Redpath is one of a number of the squad to have been called into senior England squads, including Ted Hill of Worcester Warriors who made his debut in the autumn aged 19. Also from Worcester with a senior call up is outside centre Ollie Lawrence, while Saracens lock Joel Kpoku also earned a brief call up after the U20 World Championships. Kpoku’s twin brother Jon, also at Saracens, could well partner him in the England U20 second row as he has also been named in the squad.
A number of players that have made a real impact at senior level for their clubs are also in the squad, among them Northampton Saints former Bedford School skipper Fraser Dingwall, tighthead Marcus Street at Exeter Chiefs, and Tom Willis in the back row at Wasps, to name just a handful.
Among the other clubs with a healthy number of players in the squad are Exeter with five, while Worcester Warriors have 4, as do Northampton Saints, Gloucester, and Saracens. Leicester Tigers and Newcastle Falcons have three, while London Irish, Bristol bears, and Wasps have two each, with Yorkshire Carnegie, Harlequins, and Bath all having just one player each in the squad.
Speaking to www.englandrugby.com ahead of the camp, Head Coach Steve Bates said:
“The development camp gives us an opportunity to cover some basic details with a larger number of players who could all be required at various points during the Six Nations, it also gives us a chance to look closely at the wider group and players outside of the 32-man EPS who might be used during the international season.”
“We’ve selected the training squad through a combined effort of working with the academy management and watching the players over the past few months. We want the players to have high energy, a desire to play the game quickly and with a degree of flexibility. We’d like them to quickly adapt to playing with new players and to have different ideas about how to play.”
“It will also be the first time we’ve had the opportunity to work with the new coaches and they have played a full part in the planning of the sessions, the technical aspects of how we want to play as well as the delivery of this camp.”
England U20 Training Squad:
Ollie Adkins (Gloucester), Josh Basham (Durham University), Will Capon (Bristol Bears), Richard Capstick (Exeter Chiefs), Andy Christie (Saracens), Alex Coles (Northampton Saints), Nic Dolly (Sale Sharks), Ben Donnell (London Irish), James Dun (Bristol Bears), Taylor Gough (Leicester Tigers), Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers), Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors), Aaron Hinkley (Gloucester), Joel Kpoku (Saracens), Jon Kpoku (Saracens), Samson Ma’asi (Northampton Saints), Tom Marshall (Newcastle Falcons), Kai Owen (Worcester Warriors), Alfie Petch (Exeter Chiefs), Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks), James Scott (Worcester Warriors), Marcus Street (Exeter Chiefs), Rusiate Tuima (Exeter Chiefs), Tom Willis (Wasps).
Tom De Glanville (Bath), Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints), Connor Doherty (Sale Sharks), Reece Dunn (Gloucester), Ollie Fox (Yorkshire Carnegie), Tom Hardwick (Leicester Tigers), Ollie Hassell-Collins (London Irish), Josh Hodge (Newcastle Falcons), Luke James (Sale Sharks), Ollie Lawrence (Worcester Warriors), Sam Maunder (Exeter Chiefs), Cadan Murley (Harlequins), Cam Nordli-Kelemeti (Newcastle Falcons), Cam Redpath (Sale Sharks), Arron Reed (Sale Sharks), Tom Seabrook (Gloucester), Ollie Sleightholme (Northampton Saints), Will Simonds (Wasps), Manu Vunipola (Saracens), Gus Warr (Sale Sharks), Kieran Wilkinson (Sale Sharks).
England U20 Six Nations Fixtures:
Friday 1st February
Ireland v England – Irish Independent Park, Cork, 7.15pm
Saturday 9th February
England v France – Sandy Park, Exeter, 12.05pm (live on Sky Sports)
Friday 22nd February
Wales v England – ZipWorld Stadium Colwyn Bay, 7.05pm (live on S4C)
Friday 8th March
England v Italy – Goldington Road, Bedford, 7.45pm (live on Sky Sports)
Friday 15th March
England v Scotland – Franklin’s Gardens, Northampton, 7.45pm (live on Sky Sports)