The teams for the opening round of the U18 6 Nations Festival have all been named.
Taking place at the Centre of Sporting Excellence at Ystrad Mynach, England U18 will take on Scotland U18 at 12pm, with host nation Wales following up at 2.30pm against France. The day finishes up with the 5pm kick off between Ireland and Italy.
England have named five Gloucester players in their starting fifteen Jack Barlett and St Peter’s Gloucester’s Reece Dunn, and three Hartpury College players, Jack Reeves, Jacob Morris, and JJ Tonks. They will be joined in the stadium by their schoolmate Louis Rees-Zammit, who starts on the right wing for Wales.
Dunn and Morris make up two of the England back three, with Northampton School for Boys’ Ollie Sleightholme completing the trio. Joining Reeves in the centres is Will Simonds, who will come up against his schoolmate Alex Pleasants, who is on the Scotland bench.
At outside half for England is Harrow’s Manu Vunipola, cousin of Billy and Mako, his half back partner is SGS Filton College’s Blake Boyland. Boyland ought to have an interesting day, his school half back partner Nathan Chamberlain is at fly half for Scotland.
The excellent Bevan Rodd of Sedbergh is at loosehead for England, with his schoolmate Rob Farrar at number 8. They will also come up against another schoolmate, with Jack Hill starting at blindside for Scotland. Another Sedbergh man, Carwyn Tuipultou, starts at number 8 for Wales, while Josh Hodge is on the England bench.
Bloxham’s Alfie Barbeary is at hooker for England and will captain the young side, his Wasps academy teammate Kristian Kay of Stowe is one the England bench. Jack Barlett starts at tighthead for England.
In the second row engine room Brooksby Melton College’s George Martin and Peter Symonds’ College’s Ben Donnell pair up, while joining Tonks and Farrar I the back row is Kirkham Grammar School’s Teddy Leatherbarrow. Schoolmate Connor Doherty is on the bench.
Alongside Hill and Chamberlain in the Scotland line-up is another Scottish Exiles in St Peter’s York’s Charlie Hudson. The young full back appeared for the ISRFC Lambs earlier in the season before international honours appeared on the horizon.
Meanwhile on the bench alongside Kay and Pleasants are Hymers College’s Archie Smeaton, Dulwich College’s Femi Sofolarin, and Bishop Burton College’s Dan Lancaster, son of the former England Head Coach Stuart.
With a number of survivors on both sides from England’s 64-0 win over Scotland a few weeks ago, despite the age boundary being U18 on the 1st January 2018 for this competition, you can be sure that the Scotland side will be fired up to right the wrongs of that performance.
Wales meanwhile have a number of other Exiles on their bench alongside Rees-Zammit and Tuipulotu in the starting team. Clifton College’s Ioan Lloyd, Oakham’s Sam Costelow, Bryanston’s Ellis Bevan, and Marlborough College’s Archie Griffin are all on the bench.
There are no Exiles in the Ireland squad, they are all in the Ireland U18 Clubs and Schools side that has been taking on Canada U19 recently, however there are a number of players from the victorious Blackrock College in the U18 Leinster Schools Cup.
There is an English based player in the Italy squad to face them though, Tonbridge scrum half Matteo Petrozzi is on the Italian bench.
Speaking ahead of the opening game, England U18 head coach John Fletcher said:
“We want the players to express themselves both sides of the ball, to try things and also to enjoy the experience. Everybody is excited as it’s our first game of the festival and the experiences the players get over the course of the three matches will be helpful to their development for their future.”
“The purpose of the Six Nations Festival is to provide the players with an elevated experience from their schools and academies and to put them into a different environment against different players. We will play against the best players from the Six Nations countries and the players will learn loads from that experience. It also gives the squad an opportunity to play the way that we feel will best prepare them for the England teams of the future.”
Wales U18 head coach Chris Horsman meanwhile said:
“There is a lot to look forward to for this group of players, we couldn’t ask for a bigger and more exciting challenge than France first up, and it’s definitely a fixture that will catch the interest of fans.”
“These players are at the start of their rugby careers, so how they perform and react over the coming week or so will be crucial to their development in this sport.”
U18 6 Nations Matchday 1 Team News:
England U18 XV:
15 Reece Dunn (St Peter’s Gloucester & Gloucester), 14 Ollie Sleightholme (Northampton School for Boys & Northampton Saints), 13 Will Simonds (The Henley College & Wasps), 12 Jack Reeves (Hartpury College & Gloucester), 11 Jacob Morris (Hartpury College & Gloucester), 10 Manu Vunipola (Harrow & Saracens), 9 Blake Boyland (SGS Filton College & Bristol), 1 Bevan Rodd (Sedbergh & Sale Sharks), 2 Alfie Barbeary (Bloxham & Wasps, catain), 3 Jack Bartlett (Gloucester), 4 George Martin (Brooksby Melton College & Leicester Tigers), 5 Ben Donnell (Peter Symonds College & London Irish), 6 JJ Tonks (Hartpury College & Gloucester), 7 Ted Leatherbarrow (Kirkham Grammar & Sale Sharks), 8 Rob Farrar (Sedbergh & Newcastle Falcons).
Replacements: 16 Samson Ma’asi (St Josephs College & Northampton Saints), 17 Lewis Holsey (Solihull & Worcester Warriors), 18 Cal Ford (Sandbach & Sale Sharks), 19 Will Montgomery (Kirkbie Kendal & Newcastle Falcons), 20 Rus Tuima (Exeter College & Exeter Chiefs), 21 Henri Lavin (Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth College & Leicester Tigers), 22 Callum Pascoe (Gosforth Academy & Newcastle Falcons), 23 Josh Hodge (Sedbergh & Newcastle Falcons), 24 Harry Barlow (Cranleigh & Harlequins), 25 Connor Doherty (Kirkham Grammar & Sale Sharks).
Scotland U18 XV:
- Charlie Hudson (St Peter’s, York), 14 Rufus McLean (Merchiston Castle), 13 Scott Robeson (George Heriot’s), 12 Robbie McCallum (Loretto), 11 Jack Blain (Stewart’s Melville College/Stewarts Melville RFC), 10 Nathan Chamberlain (Bristol/SGS Filton College), 9 Jamie Dobie (Merchiston Castle), 1 Thomas Jeffrey (Peebles), 2 Rory Jackson (Edinburgh Academy), 3 Daniel Gamble (Kelso/Merchiston Castle), 4 Tom Morris (Dollar Academy), 5 Cameron Henderson (Strathallan), 6 Jack Hill (Sedbergh), 7 Connor Boyle (Stewart’s Melville College/Stewart’s Meville RFC), 8 Rory Darge (Borders College/Melrose).
Replacements: 16 Scott Clelland (Ayr), 17 Mak Wilson (Duns), 18 Alex Pleasants (The Henley College/Wasps), 19 Archie Smeaton (Yorkshire Carnegie/Hymers College), 20 Gavin Wilson (Dumfries Saints), 21 Kristian Kay (Stowe/Wasps), 22 Dan Lancaster (Yorkshire Carnegie/Bishop Burton College), 23 Matthew Currie (Merchiston Castle), 24 Paul Cunningham (George Watson’s College), 25 Femi Sofolarin (Dulwich College/Harlequins), 26 Cameron Brown (Kelso).
Wales U18 XV:
15 Harri Doel (Coleg Sir Gar/Scarlets Academy/Scarlets), 14 Louis Rees-Zammit (Hartpury College/Gloucester Academy/Exiles), 13 Osian Knott (Coleg Sir Gar/Carmarthen Quins/Scarlets), 12 Aneurin Owen (Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw/NHSOB/Dragons), 11 Frankie Jones (Neath Port Talbot College/Cwmafan/Ospreys), 10 Evan Lloyd (Coleg Gwent/Dragons Academy/Dragons), 9 Dafydd Buckland (Newport High/Rhymney/Dragons), 1 William Sanderson (Coleg Llandrillo/Wrexham/RGC), 2 Will Griffiths (Coleg Gwent/Cross Keys/Dragons), 3 Luke Yendle (Newport High/Senghenydd/Dragons), 4 Ben Carter (Newport High/Caldicot/Dragons), 5 Teddy Williams (Ysgol Glantaf/Cardiff Harlequins/Cardiff Blues), 6 Robert Brookson (Coleg Gwent/Pontypool United/Dragons), 7 Jac Morgan (Coleg Sir Gar/Carmarthen Athletic/Scarlets), 8 Carwyn Tuipulotu (Sedbergh School/Exiles).
Replacements: 16 Cameron Lewis (Coleg Sir Gar/Swansea Uplands/Ospreys), 17 Callum Williams (Ysgol Maes y Gwendraeth/Tumble/Scarlets), 18 Archie Griffin (Marlborough College/Exiles), 19 Jac Price (Coleg Sir Gar/Carmarthen Quins/Scarlets), 20 Olly White (Llandovery College/Llandovery/RGC), 21 Ellis Bevan (Bryanston/Ampthill/Exiles), 22 Sam Costelow (Oakham School/Leicester Tigers/Exiles), 23 Joe Roberts (Coleg Sir Gar/Burry Port/Scarlets), 24 Ioan Davies (Coleg y Cymoedd/Merthyr/Cardiff Blues), 25 Josh Thomas (Ysgol Gyfun Gwyr/Pontarddulais/Ospreys), 26 Ioan Lloyd (Clifton College/Exiles).
Head coach Peter Smyth has named the PwC-sponsored Ireland Under-18 Schools team to play Italy in Saturday’s opening U-18 Six Nations Festival fixture in Caerphilly (kick-off 5pm).
Ireland U18 XV:
15 Max O’Reilly (St. Gerard’s School), 14 Andrew Smith (St. Michael’s College), 13 Karl Martin (St. Mary’s School, Drogheda), 12 Angus Adair (RBAI), 11 Aaron Sexton (Bangor GS), 10 Paddy McKenzie (East Glendalough School), 9 Nathan Doak (Wallace HS), 1 John McKee (Campbell College, captain), 2 Tom Stewart (Belfast Royal Academy), 3 Tom Clarkson (Blackrock College), 4 Cian Hurley (CBC Cork), 5 Tom Ahern (St. Augustine’s, Dungarvan), 6 Alex Kendellen (PBC Cork), 7 Ryan O’Neill (RS Armagh), 8 David McCann (RBAI).
Replacements: 16 Padraig McCarthy (Colaiste Pobail Bheanntrai), 17 Connor Morrissey (Mayfield CS), 18 Charlie Ward (Tullow Community School), 19 Sean O’Brien (Blackrock College), 20 Conor McMenamin (Colaiste Ailigh), 21 Cian Prendergast (Newbridge College), 22 Anthony Ryan (Clongowes Wood College), 23 Ben Murphy (Presentation College Bray), 24 Dylan Prendergast (Sancta Maria College), 25 Ben Power (Campbell College), 26 Chris Cosgrave (St. Michael’s College).
France U18 XV:
15 Brosset, 14 Dridi, 13 Espeut, 12 Falatea, 11 Moefana, 10 Fusier, 9 Dolhagaray, 1 Eglaine, 2 Jutge, 3 Warion, 5 Vanverberghe, 6 Hamonou, 7 Peysson, 8 Joseph.
Replacements: 16 Lachaud, 17 Baggiani, 18 Maravat, 19 May, 20 Viallard, 21 Costossèque, 22 Bertschy, 23 Ndiaye.
Italy U18 XV:
15 Michele Peruzzo (Valsugana Padova), 14 Edoardo Mastandrea (Valsugana Rugby), 13 Michael Mba (Rugby Casale), 12 Matteo Moscardi (FEMI-CZ Rovigo, captain), 11 Albert Batista (Rugby Etruschi Livorno), 10 Paolo Garbisi (Mogliano Rugby), 9 Ratko Jelic (Lions Amaranto), 1 Matteo Druidi (UR Capitolina), 2 Gianmarco Lucchesi (Lions Amaranto), 3 Giacomo Florio (Fiamme Oro Rugby), 4 Andrea Zambonin (Rangers Vicenza), 5 Leon Scott Lawrence (Cavalieri Union Prato Sesto), 6 Manuel Zuliani (Benetton Treviso), 7 Davide Goldin (Petrarca Padova), 8 Andrea Faccenna (UR Capitolina).
Replacements:16 Tomas Rosario (Benetton Treviso), 17 Lorenzo Michelini (Biella Rugby), 18 Filippo Alongi (Benetton Treviso), 19 Paolo Steolo (Lafert San Donà), 20 Pietro Marzocchi Traversa (Conad Reggio), 21 Luca Borin (FEMI-CZ Rovigo), 22 Matteo Petrozzi (Saracens Academy), 23 Jona Motta (Rugby Milano), 24 Lorenzo Romano (Pro Recco Rugby), 25 Angelo Maurizi (Pol. L’Aquila Rugby), 26 Nicolò Quaglia (Rugby Rovato).
U18 6 Nations Festival Schedule: Saturday 31st March to Sunday 8th April
Matchday 1 – Saturday 31st March, Ystrad Mynach (Centre of Sporting Excellence)
Scotland U18 v England U18 – 12pm
Wales U18 v France U18 – 2.30pm
Ireland U18 v Italy U18 – 5pm
Matchday 2 – Wednesday 4th April, Cardiff Arms Park
Italy U18 v England U18 – 12pm
Ireland U18 v Wales U18 – 2.30pm
France U18 v Scotland U18 – 5pm
Matchday 3 – Sunday 8th April, Cardiff Arms Park
Ireland U18 v Scotland U18 – 12pm
Italy U18 v Wales U18 – 2.30pm
France U18 v England U18 – 5pm
Previous U18 results this season:
Scotland 30-32 Wales
Scotland 0-64 England
Wales 14-42 England
France 27-5 England
Ireland 20-39 France
Italy 18-5 France ‘B’