15 December 2005
A fine array of rugby coaches will roll up to Bath University this weekend to give a final polish to the best young rugby players in England before they go into competition mode and take on the world.
After meeting Wales, Italy, Scotland, France and Ireland in the U19s Six Nations, many of the players will fly out to Dubai in April for the IRB U19 World Championship.
This Saturday sees Jim Mallinder assume control of the RFU's Junior National Academy as he takes over management of the National Academy from Brian Ashton, who is leaving to become Head Coach at Bath.
Jim, who was a National Academy coach as well as looking after England U21s, is very impressed by the young talent who will benefit from the five day camp. Three earlier camps at Bath have seen him and fellow coaches: John Wells, Jon Callard, Dorian West, Nigel Redman, Damian McGrath, Mike Friday and Tosh Askew take the country's finest young guns out of their normal environment and their comfort zone to see if they can challenge senior England players for selection.
The RFU's academy system has helped hone the skills of the likes of Anthony Allen whose two tries secured the Middlesex Sevens Cup for his club, Gloucester, this season and Leicester Tigers' and England U21s Tom Varndell, who achieved his first cap and first England try against Manu Samoa and has just returned from being named player of the Emirates Airline Dubai 7s, where he was top try scorer. Newcastle Falcons' Mathew Tait is another Academy player who went on to represent his country at senior level and to play England 7s and London Wasps' Tom Rees was part of the England wider squad for the autumn internationals.
Said Mallinder, "It's very exciting to be working with such fine young players and such excellent coaches. The Junior National Academy takes some of the country's best young rugby players out of their club environment, putting them in a new situation with specialist coaches so that they can build lots of physical, technical game understanding and ideas.
"Having, over the past few months, seen them gain the confidence and specialist skills that bring the freedom to make decisions, I am sure that some of these players will one day be running out onto the Twickenham turf with the England team.
"Working in partnership with the Guinness Premiership clubs, we aim to introduce young players to the standards they need to reach to make it to the top of the sport."
Mallinder is happy for three of his players to join the camp late so that they can be with their clubs. Leeds Tykes, who take on Perpignan in this weekend's Heineken Cup match, will be assisted by David Doherty and Danny Care, two dynamic young backs, who will be in Bath from Monday. Gloucester prop Jack Forster will also join the camp on Monday so that he can help his club face French side Toulon at the weekend.
"These are important European fixtures and we want to work with our clubs to support their Heineken Cup games," said Mallinder. "It is tremendous experience for David, Danny and Jack and I am sure they will put in 100%"
The RFU Junior National Academy camp at Bath University runs from Saturday 17th until Wednesday 21st December.
JUNIOR NATIONAL ACADEMY 2005-06
Danny Care, scrum half, (Leeds Tykes),
Daniel Cipriani, fly half (London Wasps and Whitgift School),
Calum Clarke, flanker (Leeds Tykes and Barnard Castle School),
Oliver Dodge, wing/centre (Leicester Tigers),
David Doherty, wing/fullback (Leeds Tykes),
Jack Forster, prop, (Gloucester, Hartpury College),
Adam Greendale, fly half (Leeds Tykes and Hymers College),
Tom Mercey, prop (Saracens),
Matt Mullan, front row (Worcester Warriors and Bromsgrove School)
Chevvy Pennycook, back row (Bristol and St Brendan's 6th Form College)
Simon Pitfield, lock (Northampton Saints and Bedford School)
Andrew Saull, flanker (Saracens and Bancroft's School)
Joseph Simpson, scrum half (London Wasps and St Benedict's School)
David Tait, back row (Sale Sharks)
Jordan Turner-Hall, centre (NEC Harlequins and Brighton College)
Dominic Waldouck, centre (London Wasps and Latymer Upper School)
Michael Young, scrum half (Newcastle Falcons)
Tom Youngs, centre (Leicester Tigers and Gresham's School)
The following players have also been invited to attend the Junior National Academy camp:
David Attwood (lock - Bristol Rugby)
Matt Banahan (lock - London Irish)
George Hughes (centre/fullback - Bath Rugby)
Selorm Kuadey (wing - Sale Sharks)
Jordan Page (hooker - Leeds Tykes)