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Argentina call up for England u21 hopefuls

31 May 2005

31 May 2005
When England's young players get together tomorrow to prepare for the IRB U21 World Championship kicking off in Argentina next week, they will be four new faces amongst their ranks.  Coaches Jim Mallinder and Nigel Redman have called up the new recruits into the 26 man squad after injuries forced their hand.

In the front row, Worcester and England U19 prop Dylan Hartley replaces injured Falcon David Wilson, whilst at back row Leicester flanker Will Skinner takes the place of London Wasp Tom Rees.

In the backs, Bath's Ryan Davis and Tigers' Ross Broadfoot are replaced by Shane Geraghty of London Irish and England U19s and Saracens' Ben Russell.

Said England U21 and National Academy coach Jim Mallinder, "Obviously we're disappointed for the guys who have had to drop out, but we're also delighted to have four players of such high calibre ready to take their places.

"Dylan and Shane were very impressive in Durban and were the stand out players for England U19s.  Will's been injured for most of this season and has just come back into fitness.  He's playing well and will be looking forward to playing some more rugby.

"Ben played consistently well for Saracens in the Zurich A league this year and although we're taking him primarily as a fly half, he gives us good flexibility and cover for other positions as well as being a recognised goal kicker."

The squad assembles at the Lensbury Club in Teddington tomorrow, Wednesday, for a two day training camp before heading off to Mendoza on Friday. England takes on Samoa on June 9th, South Africa on June 13th and France on June 17th.  The fourth round matches are on 21st June, with finals on June 25th.  The England squad flies home on June 27th.

The management team also includes England U21 & National Academy Coach Nigel Redman and manager Peter Drewett. 



Richard Blaze - Worcester Warriors
Will Bowley - Worcester Warriors
Neil Briggs - Rotherham Titans
Sean Cox - Sale Sharks
Aston Croall - Saracens
Michael Cusack - Leeds Tykes
Chris Goodman - Bath
Dylan Hartley - Worcester Warriors
James Haskell - London Wasps
Mark Hopley - Worcester Warriors
David Seymour - Saracens
Will Skinner - Leicester Tigers
Wayne Thompson - Bristol Shoguns
David Ward - Bath

Tom Biggs - Leeds Tykes
Matt Cornwell - Leicester Tigers
Adam Dehaty - Newcastle Falcons
Lee Dickson - Newcastle Falcons
Toby Flood - Newcastle Falcons
Ben Foden - Sale Sharks
Shane Geraghty - London Irish
Olly Morgan - Gloucester
Benjamin J Russell - Saracens
Tom Varndell - Leicester Tigers
Simon Whatling - Worcester Warriors

Player Profiles

Shane Geraghty                      

Club London Irish, Position fly half, Born 12.08.1986, Coventry

Previous Club Coventry

Height 1.80m, Weight 83kgs

School Attended: Colston's Collegiate and Bablake School

Shane's brothers played for Ireland U19s and Great Britain Colleges respectively and Shane's own first sporting success was with Coventry U13s.  His rugby heroes include legendary fly halves Jonny Wilkinson and Stephen Larkham.

Representative Honours: England U18 Schools, England U19s 2004/5 (Six Nations & World Championships)

International U21 Record: Uncapped


Dylan Hartley

Club Worcester, Position Prop, Born 24.03.86, Rotorua, New Zealand

Height 1.86m, Weight 100kgs

School Attended: Rotorua Boys High, Rotorua

Dylan joined Worcester in 2003 after moving to England from New Zealand. Aged only 19, he was called into the England U21 squad for the 2005 World Championships after a host of impressive performances for England U19s at their World Championship held earlier this year.  As a prop he has little in common with the hobbits although his favourite film is Lord of the Rings

Representative Honours: England Clubs U18 2003, England U19s Six Nations and World Championship 03/04 and U19 World Championship 04/05.

International U21 Record: Uncapped


Benjamin J Russell

Club Saracens, Position Fly half, Born 09.07.84, Guildford
Height 1.87m, Weight 86kg
School Attended: Prince William School, Oundle
Benjamin J Russell is one of two Ben Russells in the Saracens Academy since moving there from Northampton Saints last year.  He made his first premiership appearance for his new club against London Irish in October 2004 and is a regular in the Zurich A league.  Equally capable of playing full back, Ben is an all round athlete who and enjoys all form of sport especially basketball, cricket, hockey and golf. He also finds time for other hobbies including painting and listening to music, especially the sounds of the Eagles.  His ambition is to become a regular in his club's first XV and eventually he hopes to represent England as senior level.

Representative Honours: Midlands U16 Schools, England Schools U18 Clubs, 2001, England U19, 2002 (FIRA Tournament), England 7s, Dubai 2003

International U21 Record: Uncapped

William Skinner
Club Leicester Tigers, Position Flanker, Born 08.02.84, Northampton
Height 1.80m, Weight 89kg
School Attended: Bedford School
Will captained his school's 1st XV and played for the cricket 1st XI, gaining A levels in Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Geography at the same time. He played his first club rugby for Olney in Bucks before moving to Bedford RFC.  He enjoys all sports as well watching films and skiing. His favourite film is Lord of the Rings and his favourite dish is salmon. He was a member of the 2002/3 England Sevens Squad that competed in Australia and New Zealand and his ambition, since gaining his first start for the Tigers first team this season, is to continue to establish himself in the premiership.

Representative Honours: England Sevens Squad 2002/3

International U21 Record: 2004: It, S, I, W