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Stanlake praises Under 16s set up

24 April 2011

  • Wellington teams aid England success
  • Players praised for stepping up

England Under 16s coach Phil Stanlake praised the strength of English rugby at that age group after his side’s successful Easter international programme.

England followed up victory over Italy Under 17s at Macclesfield on Wednesday with a superb 31-10 win over Wales Under 16s at Fylde which left Stanlake purring with delight.

But Stanlake was quick to acknowledge the contribution that the players involved in two other England sides – Reds and Blues – involved in last week’s Wellington Festival made to his team’s success.

"There is talent throughout the side, I am not going to single anybody out because it was a total performance from many players out there," Stanlake said.

"It's a credit to the game that exists at Under 16 level to have that quality performance on the field as well as the two teams that have been playing at Wellington.

"I have to credit the players at Wellington because they made these players as good as they are. If they were not so good these players would not be pushed so hard."

Two players, lock Tom Ellis (Millfield School and Somerset) and number eight Dan Grange (Ilkley GS, Ilkley RFC, Leeds Carnegie Academy and Yorkshire) were promoted from the England Reds side and played their part in the Fylde success. Ellis also played against Italy.

"That's a reflection of the system that players can come and step up. We are running the same things that we do as we go along, players are aware what the processes are and how we want to play," Stanlake said.

"It's a reflection of the strength we have. It’s credit to those people who have stepped up. They have taken the opportunities to express themselves.

"It's also a credit to the squad for helping them settle in even at the last moment. That’s the way they work. They are very supportive of each other."

Having struggled to subdue a powerful Italy pack at Macclesfield, England produced a complete team performance at Fylde for which Stanlake modestly credited the players.

"The mission was for the boys to express themselves and play to the best of their ability and I think we saw that today," he said.

"They have listened to feedback and they have listened to what needed to be altered from the Italian game and that was reflected in the performance.

"We always said, as long as we looked after ourselves and concentrated on what we had to do and our processes, then we always knew that there was a performance like that could be put on the field of play.

"We had a shaky first five minutes but after that we put our stamp on the game and we did it very very well. 

"We have a limited time with them and the credit is due to them because they come in, they are open-minded, they come from different backgrounds and our ideas just give them a loose framework to play rugby in.

"All that has gone on beforehand to produce that level rugby in a short period of preparation is fantastic. Ideally we would love more but we have to work with what we got.

"I take my hat off to the players. They have been fantastic."