The England U18 Development Camp Squad was named earlier this week ahead of news breaking today that England would host the U18 Six National Festival this year.
Hartpury College will host the Festival, which runs from the 11th to the 21st April, and fittingly Hartpury contribute as many players to this squad as anyone else, Jenson Boughton, Harry Fry, and Joe Howard, all in the forward pack.
Their Gillman’s Ground hosts the opening round, where England will play Wales, Ireland face France, and Scotland takes on Italy. Hartpury, of course, feeds Gloucester by and large and Gloucester is also well represented in the squad, with Eight players, six forwards and two backs.
Gloucester’s Kingsholm Stadium hosts the third and final round of games, Scotland v Ireland, England v France, and Italy v Wales. Worcester Warriors' Sixways Stadium meanwhile is the venue for the second round, France v Italy, Ireland v England, and Wales v Scotland.
The England U18 Development Camp squad is 44 strong, 24 in the forwards and 20 in the backs. Thirty-one schools are represented, four of whom are AASE Colleges. A number of the schools have multiple representatives, Beechen Cliff, Dean Close, and Hartpury College have three each, while Cheltenham College, Cranleigh, Denstone College, Millfield, St Paul’s Catholic College, and Woodhouse Grove all have two players in the squad each.
Of the 14 RFU Professional Academies, twelve are represented. Gloucester has the most players with 8, Leicester Tigers not far behind with 7, an unsurprising fact is given that they meet on Sunday in the U18 Academy League final.
What is surprising is the identity of the two Academies not represented, Exeter Chiefs and Newcastle Falcons. Exeter has a reputation as one of the strongest academies in the business, while Newcastle Falcons were one of the biggest providers to last year’s squad.
The players at the camp will likely form the bulk of the squad that takes part in the U18 Six National Festival, which sees each nation play three games. This year the Festival includes a number of innovative off-field ideas too, not least a post-game peer review session with your opposite number.
Speaking about that, RFU Head of Regional Academies, Don Barrell, who oversees the festival structure, said:
“It’s a hugely exciting opportunity to spend time with players from other countries, to interact and develop off the pitch which will ultimately serve them well for a career in the game and afterwards.”
“One of the really exciting activities is that the players will be doing a peer review, so they will play a match and will the following day sit down with their opposite number to review the game. They will get the chance to question the opposition on what they were trying to do and how they were being perceived to help them explore how they would do things differently.”
Speaking more generally, he said: “Over the course of the festival we want players to enjoy themselves and have fun, to understand the way that England want to play and understand what they need to do in terms of being an international player both on and off the pitch to progress through the pathway.”
“For the players, it’s also the chance to experience what it is like to play several international fixtures in a tournament setting. Some of the fixtures at this level see the players usually come together for two or three days so this is an opportunity for them to develop as a squad, form relationships and experience what it is to be an international rugby player.”
“We’ve seen these players slowly come through the pathway, some of the group have been out with us in South Africa, there will be some younger players in there as well and we’ve got an opportunity over 10 days to work with them, to get to know them a little bit better and to see them play in three international fixtures.”
“The festival is another step in a player’s development journey and for us, it serves two purposes. The first is to provide playing opportunities but more than that, there is a chance for them to spend time with players from different clubs within their own squad and learn how they see the world and operate.”
U18 Six Nations Festival Fixtures:
Matchday 1 – Saturday 13th April, Gillman’s Ground (Hartpury College)
England v France, 12 pm
Ireland v France, 2.30pm
Scotland v Italy, 5 pm
Matchday 2 – Wednesday 17th April, Sixways Stadium (Worcester)
France v Italy, 11 am
Ireland v England, 1.30pm
Wales v Scotland, 4 pm
Matchday 3 – Sunday 21st April, Kingsholm (Gloucester)
Scotland v Ireland, 11 am
England v France, 1.30pm
Italy v Wales, 4 pm
England U18 Development Camp Squad
Forwards (24): Anjo Ademuwagun (Harrow & Wasps), Alfie Barbeary (Bloxham & Wasps), Harvey Beaton (Sutton Valence & Saracens), Archie Benson (Dean Close & Gloucester), Jenson Boughton (Hartpury College & Gloucester), Jack Clement (Cheltenham College & Gloucester), Theodore Dan (Alleyn’s & Saracens), Jack Forsythe (Warwick & Worcester Warriors), Harry Fry (Hartpury College & Gloucester), Josh Gray (Dean Close & Gloucester), Luke Green (St Paul’s Catholic College & London Irish), James Harper (Merchant Taylors’, Crosby & Sale Sharks), Xavier Hastings (Bishop Wordsworth’s & Bath), Joe Howard (Hartpury College & Gloucester), Tom Manz (Denstone College & Leicester Tigers), George Martin (Brooksby Melton College & Leicester Tigers), Nahum Merigan (Beechen Cliff & Bath), Chunya Munga (Leighton Park & London Irish), Zac Nearchou (Radley College & Wasps), Jack Reid (Wellington College & Harlequins), Sam Riley (St George’s College, Weybridge & Harlequins), John Stewart (Beechen Cliff & Bath), Will Trenholm (Cranleigh & Harlequins), James Whitcombe (Woodhouse Grove & Leicester Tigers)
Backs (20): Harry AAsher(Clifton College & Bristol Bears), Orlando Bailey (Beechen Cliff & Bath), George Barton (Dean Close & Gloucester), Joe Browning (Denstone College & Leicester Tigers), Joe Carpenter (Woodhouse Grove & Yorkshire Carnegie), Phil Cokanasiga (St Paul’s Catholic College & London Irish), Tom Curtis (Sedbergh & Sale Sharks), Josh Gillespie (Millfield & Northampton Saints), Louis Hillman-Cooper (Cheltenham College & Gloucester), Hayden Hyde (Cranleigh & Harlequins), Will Joseph (Millfield & London Irish), Jonny Law (Rugby & Leicester Tigers), Louis Lynagh (Hampton & Harlequins), Max Ojomoh (KES Bath & Bath), Raphael Quirke (St Ambrose College & Sale Sharks), Tom Roebuck (Wirral Grammar & Sale Sharks), Freddie Steward (Norwich & Leicester Tigers), Jack van Poortvliet (Oakham & Leicester Tigers), George Warboys (Beechen Cliff & Bath), Jude Williams (Caterham & Wasps)
Article by: http://www.fifteenrugby.com