Fletcher retains unbeaten England U/18 Squad

England have named their Under 18 squad for the remaining five games of this season’s international programme.


The side coached by John Fletcher and Peter Walton extended their unbeaten international run to 13 games when they beat Australian Schools side 30-28 last month.


All 23 players used at Heywood Road are retained with centres Ryan Mills (Hartpury College and Gloucester Rugby) and Charlie Walker (Leicester Tigers), and lock George Merrick (Harlequins) back after injury.


England take the field against France at Newbury on Sunday, February 21 (3pm) and away games follow against Italy (March 7) and Wales (March 28) before they face Ireland and Scotland in the annual SixNations Festival in April.


“We’ve got a strong squad and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season,” said Fletcher.


“There’s not been much carry-over from last season so there’s a lot of young lower-sixth guys in it but they’ve trained well and did well against Australia in December.


“We’ll try and give everyone a start in the first two matches and go from there into the game against Wales and the Festival.


“Everyone will get a lot of game time. Young players can’t develop without being pitched in to deal with stress and adversity, and we’ll put them in that position to see how they cope.”


There are four survivors from the 2008-09 Under 18 programme in fly half George Ford (Rishworth and Leicester Tigers), flanker Billy Vunipola (Harrow and London Wasps), lock Sam Twomey (Dulwich College and Harlequins) and centre Jamie Elliott (Bedford and Northampton Saints).


Ford became the youngest player to appear in a professional club game in November when he lined up for Leicester against Leeds Carnegie in the LV=Cup at the age of 16 years 237 days.


ENGLAND U18 SQUAD


Forwards


Nick Auterac (Oaklands College and Saracens), Dominic Barrow (Prince Henry’s GS Otley and Leeds Carnegie), Anthony Brennan (Twyford CofE and London Wasps), Koree Britton (Ivybridge Coll and Exeter Chiefs), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Truro Coll and Exeter Chiefs), Matt Kvesic (Worcester Sixth Form Coll and Worcester Warriors) , George Merrick (Whitgift and Harlequins), Nathan Morris (Sedbergh and Newcastle Falcons), Sam Northcote-Green (Dulwich Coll and London Wasps), Kyle Sinckler (Epsom Coll and Harlequins), Will Skuse (Bryanston and Bath Rugby), Sam Twomey (Dulwich Coll and Harlequins) , Billy Vunipola (Harrow and London Wasps), Chris Walker (Prince Henry’s GS Otley and Leeds Carnegie)


Backs


Tommy Bell (Bacup and Rawtenstall GS and Sale Sharks), Elliot Daly (Whitgift and London Wasps), Chris Elder (RGS High Wycombe and London Wasps), Jamie Elliott (Bedford and Northampton Saints), George Ford (Rishworth and Leicester Tigers), Joel Hodgson (RGS Newcastle and Newcastle Falcons), Mark Jennings (Lymm HS and Sale Sharks), Ryan Mills (Hartpury Coll and Gloucester), Ben Ransom (Tonbridge and Saracens), Dan Robson (Hartpury Coll and Gloucester Rugby), Charlie Walker (Oakham and Leicester Tigers), Marland Yarde (Whitgift and London Irish)


ENGLAND U18 INTERNATIONAL FIXTURES


December 13: England U18 30 Australia Schools 28
February 21: England U18 v France (Newbury, 3pm)
March 7: Italy U18 v England U18 (Calvisano 2.30pm)
March 28: Wales U18 v England U18 (TBC)
April 2: England U18 v Ireland (Six Nations Festival in Wales)
April 6: England U18 v Scotland (Six Nations Festival in Wales)

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