England U18 to tour SA
SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: England Under-18 have selected 26 players who will travel to South Africa to partake in the U18 International Series starting on August 12.
The England U18 will face France on August 12, South Africa Schools A on August 16 and South Africa School on August 20.
Commenting on the team's tour Rugby Football Union's National Academy Development Manager John Fletcher said: "The tour gives us an opportunity to play in the Southern Hemisphere in a different environment and against a very tough opposition.
"It also gives this group of players an opportunity to bond and for us to see how they adapt away from home," Fletcher said.
The squad will be captained by Harlequins wing Gabriel Ibitoye.
"He is one of our more experienced players, he has good energy and in terms of how we want to play and express ourselves [Ibitoye] epitomises that every time he goes onto the field.
"We will stick to our principles in defence and attack and we expect the players to adapt on the field. The plan is to give the players a full tour experience, which is crucial to their development," he added.
The U18 squad will be coached by Fletcher, Peter Walton, Mark Luffman and Russell Earnshaw, and supported by Richard Hill, who mentors a number of the U18 squad. As part of the progression through the national age grade programme Martin Haag and Rory Teague from the U20 management team will be attending some of the tour and watching all of the games.
Earnshaw said: "The tour will be an awesome learning experience for the players and management, giving us an opportunity to challenge ourselves by playing three-quality teams with not much preparation time.
"As a management team this is great fun as we have no option but to keep it simple and to base how we play around the strengths of the players. Based upon how we have played previously this season, I'm sure that will involve intent to score from all over the pitch and the boys playing with a smile on their face,"
England U18 squad: Josh Bayliss, Jamie Blamire, Rory Brand, Joe Cokanasiga, Ben Curry, Tom Curry, Levi Davis, Ali Crossdale, James Grayson, Ted Hill, Gabriel Ibitoye (captain), Ciaran Knight, Dino Lamb-Cona, Jarod Leat, Ben Loader, Sam Moore, Oli Morris, Ehren Painter, Tom Parton, Alex Seville, Jacob Umaga, Henry Walker, Harry Simmons, Matt Williams, Josh Williams, Tom Willis.
Revised Under-18 International fixtures are as follows:
Friday, August 12 at City Park Stadium, Cape Town
12.00: England vs France
13.30: SA Schools A vs Italy
15.00: SA Schools vs Wales
Tuesday, August 16 at Bishops
13.00: Wales vs Italy
14.30: SA Schools A vs England
16.00: SA Schools vs France
Saturday, August 20 at Paarl Boys' High
11.15: France vs Italy
12.45: SA Schools A vs Wales
14.15: SA Schools vs England