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Cream of England youth take on Australia Schools

07 December 2009

  • Coach Fletcher has confidence in his Regional Academy XV
  • Clean bill of health is key to success at Lymm RFC

England under-18s coach John Fletcher

Photo: Getty Images

England Under 18 head coach John Fletcher is keeping his fingers crossed that a posse of players set to face the touring Australian Schools on Wednesday (December 9, 2pm) come through tonight’s series of club games unscathed and are fit to take their places in an Under 19 Regional Academy side at Lymm RFC.

With a clean bill of health, Fletcher is confident that his side will have enough experience and talent to give a good account of themselves against traditionally strong opposition.

“There are a number of players who are involved in A team rugby with their clubs and I reckon we have a pretty good line-up that will do well,” he says: “There’s plenty of incentive for the lads with the chance to play in a full England Academies XV against the tourists at Cinderford on December 19 still available for players who do well.”

The Wallabies are invariably in the top four in the world at this level, so the competition will be challenging, but England Under 18s have not lost in 17 games. The last time they were beaten was in 2007 at Ballymore, when Australia triumphed 11-3, but among the victories achieved since then was a 45-13 success against South Africa at Kimberley last year.

The game at Beechwood on Wednesday is the first part of an attractive ‘double-header’ for fans in the North West. On Sunday (December 13, 2pm) the Wallaby Schools will be in action again at Heywood Road, home of Sale FC in a schools international.

On that occasion they will be taking on an England Under 18 side which contains a sprinkling of players from the North, among them 16-year-old Mark Jennings from Lymm High School and Sale Sharks Academy. Sunday will complete a busy week for Mark, who has also been drafted into the Regional Academy squad for the mid-week game at Lymm.

Another interesting name in the squad for Lymm is that of Owen Farrell, son of Rugby League legend and England centre Andy, while to underline the calibre of the youngsters involved, London Irish pair Jonathan Joseph and Marcus Watson and Saracens fly-half Jake Sharp have all played in the Guinness Premiership already this season.

The Regional Academy squad for Wednesday’s game at Lymm is:

Forwards: Harry Allen (Saracens), Pete Austin (London Irish), Ryan Bower (Leicester Tigers), Matt Everard (Leicester Tigers), Ben Glynn (Bristol Rugby), Tom Hicks (Northampton Saints), Sam Jones (London Wasps), Charlie Matthews (Harlequins), Jethro Rawling  (Leicester Tigers), Ollie Steadman (Leeds Carnegie), Henry Thomas (Sales Sharks), Mako Vunipola (Bristol Rugby).

Backs: Tommy Bell (Sales Sharks), Earl Collins (Worcester Warriors), Owen Farrell (Saracens), Ryan Glynn (Sales Sharks), Mark Jennings (Sale Sharks), Jonathan Joseph (London Irish), Jake Sharp (Saracens), Andy Short (Worcester), Sam Stuart (Harlequins), Marcus Watson (London Irish).

Admission to the Lymm match is £5 for adults and £2 for under 18s.

Directions to the ground can be viewed at http://www.lymmrfc.co.uk/directions.html.