- Joe Robinson receives call up after impressing for England U18 Clubs & Schools
- He is a hard worker and solid in the set piece – John Fletcher
Photo: Getty Images
Joe Robinson, who impressed for England Under 18 Clubs and Schools last weekend, has been called up to the England Under 18 squad for the finale of this season’s FIRA tournament.
The lock from Newcastle Falcons and Sedbergh School joins the elite squad when they fly to France ahead of their semi final clash with Wales in Auch on Sunday, April 17, ko 5pm.
Joe played an influential role in England Under 18 Clubs and Schools’ comeback against Ireland Under 18 Clubs in Dublin. The team went 17-0 down before earning a 23-23 draw with a try in the final two minutes.
“It’s fantastic to be selected for the England Under 18 squad,” said Joe. “I really want to progress as much as I can and stay on the international radar. Being involved at this level and playing alongside talented players is key to development.
“The intensity and the speed of reaction and thinking required in international rugby is so much higher. Playing against Ireland was an important stepping stone for me.
“I think the occasion last Sunday got to us as a team and we were too eager in the first half. We had little possession and gave away far too many penalties as we tried too hard to win back the ball. After the team talk at half time, we calmed it down, we kept the ball well, supported better at the breakdown in order to recycle the ball faster and didn’t force it when it wasn’t on.
“The boys showed great character and professionalism to bring it back. It was a good squad, we got on really well. I enjoyed getting to know the boys and gelling as a team and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to do the same with the England Under 18s.”
He has all the attributes of a great forward - Fletcher
Photo: Getty Images
There are two pathways identified by the RFU for player development; the performance pathway which looks to channel players towards elite rugby, and the aspirational pathway which gives players the opportunity of playing representative rugby and keeps them on the selectors’ radar while they continue to pursue academic commitments. As in Joe’s case there can be progression from the aspirational to the performance pathway.
Joe plays for Kendal in National Division 2 North and represented England Under 16 along with Nathan Morris, Dominic Barrow, Matt Hankin, Sam Hill, and Mark Jennings who are also named in the England Under 18 squad. As Joe is a member of the Newcastle Falcons academy, England Under 18 Head Coach, John Fletcher, has been aware of his potential for some time.
“I’ve known Joe since he was 12,” said Fletcher. “I’ve watched him over the years and know what he will bring. He has all the attributes of a great forward and has earned the right to be called up.
“He was always just on the edge of our squad and we knew that if we had injuries to our second row he would be in and that’s what has happened. He is a hard worker and solid in the set piece. He plays a high level of school rugby and has international experience at Under 16 and with the England Under 18 Clubs and Schools.
“Ireland Under 18 Clubs are a very good side and there is no doubt that playing in a hard fixture like that last weekend will be of benefit to Joe. We are delighted that he had that experience and that now the opportunity has arisen for him to come over to our set up.
“Wales will be a tough test on Sunday,” added Fletcher, “Everyone always raises their game against England but all we need to do is concentrate on our own preparations and our own game to make sure we play the best we can.”
A win against the Welsh would take England into the final of the competition against either Ireland or hosts France on Saturday, April 23 in Tarbes.