England have named their side for the final game of the 2019 U18 International Series.
Having lost their opener to Argentina before defeating France 29-25 earlier in the week England now face the hosts, South Africa Schools at Hugenote High in Wellington.
The game will be the last of the series, with South Africa Schools A kicking things off against Argentina at 11am before France and Wales meet at 12.30pm, England and the hosts will kick off at 2pm.
It will be a tricky contest, South Africa Schools are looking for a fill house of victories in the series, having beaten Wales 23-13 in their opener ahead of Tuesday’s 48-14 defeat of Argentina. No other side can finish with an unbeaten record in the series, reflecting the competitive standard of the developmental series.
England Head Coach Jim Mallinder has made eight changes from the side that beat France on Tuesday, thanks to a brace of tries from Cranleigh’s Will Trenholm plus tries from Cheltenham College’s Louis Hillman-Cooper and Millfield’s Will Joseph, along with nine points from the collective boots of Beechen Cliff’s Orlando Bailey and Abingdon’s Charlie Atkinson.
That star centre pairing of Joseph and Hillman-Cooper are paired together for the first time on tour and are sure to be eye-catching, along with the returning Beechen Cliff star at fly half, Orlando Bailey.
Like Hillman-Cooper and Bailey, Brooksby Melton College scrum half Sam Edwards also returns to the side, meanwhile in the back three Sedbergh’s Oliver Melville makes it three starts from three at full back on tour. Either side of him at Gosforth Academy’s Matthew Ward and St Paul’s Catholic College’s Alex Harmes, who were both on the bench against Wales.
After two tough games Will Trenholm starts this one from the bench, with Oakham’s Kit Smith coming in at number 8. On the flanks Rugby’s Emeka Ilione and Clifton College’s Harry Taylor keep their places, Ilione makes his third start of the tour and captains the side from the blindside flank.
Ahead of them Dean Close’s Freddie Thomas and Beechen Cliff’s Ethan Staddon keep their places in the second row, as does Staddon’s schoolmate John Stewart at hooker. Wellington College’s Fin Baxter returns to the side at tighthead after captaining the team against Argentina and returning on the other side of the scrum is RGS Newcastle’s Phil Brantingham, who performed well off the bench against France.
Ahead of the game Jim Mallinder was speaking to www.englandrugby.com saying:
“Ending the tour against the hosts is a really nice way to finish and I’m sure it will be a great experience for the players. South Africa are unbeaten which makes it even more of a test for us and the players are excited to take them on.”
“Whenever you play a South African team it is always a very physical challenge. They have some big carriers, the forwards like to get around the corner and they test you defensively so it’s going to be a really tough encounter for the players but one they are relishing. We feel we’ve advanced over the past week or so, technically and tactically we have improved as a team and the players have really bonded off the field.”
“This tour has been so important for the players’ development. We came together as 26 individuals and coaches and the tournament has allowed us to gel in a competitive environment and we’ve gradually improved and this third game will allow us to see how far we’ve come.”
England U18 XV:
15 Oliver Melville (Sedbergh & Sale Sharks), 14 Matthew Ward (Gosforth Academy & Newcastle Falcons), 13 Will Joseph (Millfield & London Irish), 12 Louis Hillman-Cooper (Cheltenham College & Gloucester), 11 Alex Harmes (St Paul’s Catholic College & London Irish), 10 Orlando Bailey (Beechen Cliff & Bath), 9 Sam Edwards (Brooksby Melton College & Leicester Tigers), 1 Phil Brantingham (RGS Newcastle & Newcastle Falcons), 2 John Stewart (Beechen Cliff & Bath), 3 Fin Baxter (Wellington College & Harlequins), 4 Freddie Thomas (Dean Close & Gloucester), 5 Ethan Staddon (Beechen Cliff & Bath), 6 Emeka Ilione (Rugby & Leicester Tigers, captain), 7 Harry Taylor (Clifton College & Gloucester), 8 Kit Smith (Oakham & Leicester Tigers).
Replacements: 16 Tarek Haffar (St Paul’s Catholic College & London Irish), 17 Joe Keohane (St Paul’s Catholic College & London Irish), 18 Ewan Richards (Millfield & Bath), 19 Daniel Eckersley (Bloxham & Wasps), 20 Will Trenholm (Cranleigh & Harlequins), 21 Sam Bryan (Felsted & Saracens), 22 Ethan Grayson (Northampton School for Boys & Northampton Saints), 23 Michael Dykes (St Paul’s Catholic College & London Irish), 24 Oscar Beard (Cranleigh & Harlequins), 25 Charlie Atkinson (Abingdon & Wasps).
U18 International Series Fixtures/Results (all times BST):
Matchday 1 – Friday 9th August, Paul Roos Gymnasium
South Africa Schools A 19-43 France
England 19-29 Argentina
South Africa Schools 23-13 Wales
Matchday 2 – Tuesday 13th August, Paarl Gymnasium
South Africa Schools A 31-31 Wales
South Africa Schools 28-14 Argentina
England 29-25 France
Matchday 3 – Saturday 17th August, Hugenote High, Wellington
11am – South Africa Schools A v Argentina
12.30pm – France v Wales
2pm – South Africa Schools v England