- England U20 jet off for week-long training camp in Portugal
- We’re concentrating on their decision-making – Hunter
Photo: RFU Archive
The England Under 20 Head Coach Rob Hunter is concentrating on the decision-making of his young charges on the week-long warm-weather training camp in Portugal.
Former Northampton forward Hunter, with assistant Diccon Edwards, is using the time to evaluate his players ahead of the 6 Nations feels the time away will be beneficial for specific parts of the youngsters’ games.
"This is another great opportunity for us to come and get another look at the squad,” he said.
"We’ve got a heavy emphasis on the decision making area of the game and we’re looking to develop that further throughout the week.
"It’s important at this stage not to get too carried away with tactics and game plan organisation – that will come when we get closer to the U20 6 Nations.
"This week we want to put a lot of focus on the guys developing as individual players so that we can support the work that they do at their clubs."
Absentees offer others opportunities
Photo: Getty Images
Several key members of the Under 20 squad, such as Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers) and Jonathan Joseph (London Irish), are absent from the training camp due to first team commitments at their clubs.
But this is something Hunter sees as a positive, for both the individuals and the squad as a whole.
He said: "The guys that aren’t here aren’t here because they’re playing well.
"It can put pressure on us in some cases because they’ll have to come in learn very quickly when we get together for the 6 Nations, but by the very nature of the fact that they aren’t with us, it means that they are playing at a very high level, which in the long run will only benefit us."
Of course when one door closes another one opens, and the absentees have allowed Hunter to call upon several fringe players.
"Mikey Hayward (Northampton Saints), Jonah Holmes (London Wasps) and Guy Armitage (London Irish) have all joined up with us which is a testament to the hard work they’ve been doing so far this season," he added.
"There are a number players knocking on the door to get into this squad. We’re very lucky – it’s very competitive outside of the squad, as well as within it."
Keep up-to-date with all the latest from the Under 20 news in the England Age Group new section on RFU.com.