England have named their updated 46-man squad for their U18 February Development camp.
Head Coach Jonathan Pendlebury will lead his group at the camp, running from the 20th-23rd February at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre, with Mark Luffman and Mark Mapletoft assisting him. Mapletoft, a Harlequins Academy coach, has previously been England U20 coach.
The squad is largely the same as was named earlier in the month, save for one change as Newcastle Falcons and Durham School back rower Owen Vassello comes in to replace the injured Berkhamsted and Saracens number 8, Toby Knight.
In addition to that previously named squad, six players are called into the camp as part of the wider squad, five forwards and one back. Sale Sharks and Liverpool College scrum half Nye Thomas is the solitary back, and he is joined in the group by Sale Sharks teammates Tumy Onasanya and Nonso Agina, who play prop and second row respectively. Also called up are Exeter Chiefs and Truro College hooker and Yorkshire Carnegie’s Woodhouse Grove prop Ned Hawker, while Bloxham flanker Dan Eckersley, who played for England U18 in the summer, is recalled, he has been moved to hooker by Wasps of late.
England will face Scotland at Hawick RFC on Sunday 15th March, 2pm, before then facing France in Bourges on Sunday 22d March at 3pm GMT. Following those two fixtures comes the U18 Six Nations Festival in April, this year hosted by France.
Commenting on www.englandrugby.com about the squad, Pendlebury said:
“My first priority is to get to know these players as well as I can. The players are the pathway. As a pathway management team we want to support the players in their development towards being full time senior academy players and future internationals as well as help them fulfill their potential as senior players in the game.”
“The sessions will be a step up from the last 10 weeks of U18 academy league fixtures that they have participated in. I expect the players to ‘explore boundaries’ which could be a way of playing or executing a skill or tactic and look to learn something from each session and particularly each game that may support their progression in the game.”
“We will explore different themes in attack, defence and transition and how we execute or look to utilise these will be a main theme for the U18 group going forwards. Mark Luffman will continue a role he has had within the age group squads. He is an excellent front-row specialist coach and has helped the development of several Premiership and current international players.”
“To be able to draw on the coaching expertise of Mark Mapletoft is also incredibly valuable. He knows what the game looks like at the top level through his work at Harlequins, as well as his previous work with past age group squads, the U20s and now more closely with Harlequins senior and junior academy players.
“I just can’t wait to start working with this group through the spring and across the five competitive weekends this group will have together.”
According to England Rugby, the squad has been selected based on performance in the U18 Academy League, school competitions, and in consultation with the 14 regional academy managers. The camp is said to allow coaches to discuss playing principles and themes with the group, encouraging players to explore the boundaries of their game.
Every single side from the U18 Academy League is represented, with the exception of Yorkshire Carnegie, who are yet to win a game. Bristol Bears, London Irish, Harlequins, and Saracens top the charts in terms of representation, with five each, almost half of the squad.
There are twenty-two different schools represented in the main group of 46 and a further eight AASE Colleges, with four schools/colleges have three representatives each. Wellington College, Felsted, Beechen Cliff, and SGS Filton College each have three players in the main squad, while a further eight schools/colleges have two representatives each.
19 of the 46 man squad has already been capped, Charlie Atkinson, Orlando Bailey, Oscar Beard, Sam Bryan, Ethan Grayson, Louis Hillman-Cooper, Will Joseph, and Matthew Ward in the backs, with Fin Baxter, Phil Brantingham, Tarek Haffar, Emeka Ilione, Ewan Richards, Ethan Staddon, John Stewart, Kit Smith, Freddie Thomas, Will Trenholm, and Archie Vanes capped in the forwards.
England U18 Squad – February Development Camp (46):
Charlie Atkinson (Wasps & Abingdon)
Seb Atkinson (Worcester Warriors & Bromsgrove)
Orlando Bailey (Bath & Beechen Cliff)
Deago Bailey (Bristol Bears & SGS Filton College)
Fin Baxter (Harlequins & Wellington College)
Oscar Beard (Harlequins & Cranleigh)
Jamie Benson (Harlequins & Hampton)
Corey Bowker (Sale Sharks & Kirkham GS)
Phil Brantingham (Newcastle Falcons & RGS Newcastle)
Sam Bryan (Saracens & Felsted)
Arthur Clark (Gloucester & Hartpury College)
Cassius Cleaves (Harlequins & Wellington College)
Joe Elsworth (Exeter Chiefs & Exeter College)
Jack Forsythe (Worcester Warriors & Warwick)
Ethan Grayson (Northampton Saints & Northampton School for Boys)
Ben Grubb (Exeter Chiefs & Exeter College)
Tarek Haffar (London Irish & St Paul’s Catholic College)
Olly Hartley (Wasps & Whitgift)
Louis Hillman-Cooper (Gloucester & Cheltenham College)
Emeka Ilione (Leicester Tigers & Rugby)
Brandon Jackson (Saracens & Sutton Valence)
Matty Jones (Gloucester & Dean Close)
Will Joseph (London Irish & Millfield)
Dani Long-Martinez (Northampton Saints & Norwich)
Rory Morgan (London Irish & St Paul’s Catholic College)
Obinna Nkwocha (Saracens & Felsted)
Ethan Pearce-Cowley (Exeter Chiefs & Truro College)
Marcus Rhodes (London Irish & Wellington College)
Charlie Rice (Bristol Bears & SGS Filton College)
Ewan Richards (Bath & Millfield)
Jack Rowntree (Leicester Tigers & Leicester GS)
Kit Smith (Leicester Tigers & Oakham)
Tristan Smith (Saracens & Felsted)
Finlay Smith (Worcester Warriors & Warwick)
Ethan Staddon (Bath & Beechen Cliff)
John Stewart (Bath & Beechen Cliff)
George Taylor (Bristol Bears & Bristol GS)
Freddie Thomas (Gloucester & Dean Close)
Will Trenholm (Harlequins & Cranleigh)
Andrew Turner (Bristol Bears & SGS Filton College)
Joe Vajner (London Irish & Whitgift)
Archie Vanes (Leicester Tigers & Brooksby Melton College)
Owen Vasselo (Newcastle Falcons & Durham)
Matthew Ward (Newcastle Falcons & Gosforth Academy)
TJ Wilstead (Bristol Bears & Colston’s)
Ollie Wynn (Worcester Warriors & Bromsgrove)
Wider Squad (6)
Nonso Agina (Sale Sharks)
Daniel Eckersley (Wasps & Bloxham)
New Hawker (Yorkshire Carnegie & Bloxham)
Harry Hocking (Exeter Chiefs & Truro Colege)
Tumy Onasanya (Sale Sharks & Pendleton 6th form College)
Nye Thomas (Sale Sharks & Liverpool College)