- Four backs withdraw from festival squad
- Midlands to face South West in tournament opener
The Midlands Under-18 selectors have been forced to reshuffle their squad for the Divisional Festival in Leeds from January 2 to 4.
Staffordshire half-back pair Josh Massey and Dan Robson have both been withdrawn from the squad, Massey because of an injury that prevented him training and Robson has been rested having played for England Under-18s in their win over Australia Schools last week.
In addition Jack Bradford of Notts, Lincs & Derbyshire has opted to play for Scotland Under-18s and Leicestershire’s Conor McCann, a Canada Under-17 international, for Canada Under-18s.
The Midlands have called up Bill Harling of North Midlands, Harry Sanders of Staffordshire and Callan Watson of NLD to their back division and reduced their final squad by one to 25.
The Midlands will launch the Divisional Festival, which will be played at the West Park Leeds club, with a game against the South West on January 2 (11.30am). The North will play London at 2pm.
The two sides beaten on January 2 will meet on January 4 at 10.30am with the two first day winners playing off for the title at 1pm.
Midlands Under-18 squad
Backs: Will Dunkley (Bedford School and East Midlands), Matthew Fisher (Burleigh College, Melton Mowbray and Leicestershire), George Hardy (Warwick School and Warwickshire), Bill Harling (RGS Worcester, Worcester Warriors and North Midlands), Will Kiddle (Wellingborough School, Towcestrians, and East Midlands), Dan Reynolds (King's School Grantham, Kesteven and NLD), Harry Sanders (Hartpury College, Stafford and Staffordshire), Luke Veebel (Lutterworth GS, Market Bosworth, Leicester Tigers Academy and East Midlands), De la Rey Veenendaal (Oakham School, Northampton Saints and East Midlands), Callan Watson (Derby and NLD), Jim Wigglesworth (Trent College, Nottingham and NLD).
Forwards: Will Brennan (Prince Henry's HS, Worcester and North Midlands), Ryan Furniss (Worcester Sixth Form College, Worcester Warriors Academy and North Midlands), George Hargreaves (Tomlinson Hall Sixth Form College, Lutterworth, Leicester Tigers Academy and Leicestershire), Hugh Lockhart (Bromsgrove School, Bromsgrove, Worcester Warriors Academy and North Midlands), Hugh McBride (Bromsgrove School and North Midlands), Tom Nutley (Moulton College, Bedford Blues and East Midlands), George Oliver (John Cleveland College, Bedford Blues and Leicestershire), Iain Oliver (Stafford GS, Stafford and Staffordshire), Shane Purcell (Derby, Nottingham Academy and NLD), Robert Smith (Old Leamingtonians and Warwickshire), Ethan Waller (Wellingborough School, Wellingborough, Northampton Saints Academy and East Midlands), Henry Waltier (Bromsgrove School, Worcester and North Midlands), Barnaby Woods (Bromsgrove School, Worcester Warriors Academy and North Midlands), Sean Young (Bromsgrove School, Worcester Warriors Academy and North Midlands).