- Nine new faces in Counties XV starting line-up
- Sam has earned his call, says manager Old
Photo: RFU Archive
Sam Beaumont, son of former England and British Lions captain Bill, will be adding an England shirt of his own to the extensive family collection when he plays for the England RU Counties XV against the Ulster Bank Club International Team at Old Belvedere RFC in Dublin on Friday (kick-off 5.30pm).
Beaumont Junior has already played for the Barbarians and is booked to make another appearance in April, but this will be his first England selection and comes in the same city that his father first pulled on a senior England shirt against Ireland in 1975.
"I'm a bit nervous about the game, but it's a great feeling and I'm sure I'll enjoy it," said the 25-year-old Fylde and Counties No.8.
"I'm sure it's going to be a pretty hard game, but I'm really excited and I can't wait to get going. Obviously my main aim is to play well and help us to get a win. I think the preparation has been very good considering how little time there is.
"The group has come together very well and the training has been quite hard work. Everybody has gelled together well and the work has been fairly sharp, with very few mistakes being made. Let’s hope we can take that into Friday."
Inevitably, comparisons with the famous father will be made when he runs out in an England shirt at Old Belvedere, but he does not see his family ties as exerting any real pressure.
"I've never had any pressure from him to play the game. He’s just let me get on with it and supported me all the way. I started at Fylde in the minis and worked my way through to play for Lancashire U18. Then I played at university before going back to Fylde to get fully involved and got picked for the Lancashire senior team.
It'll be great to wear the England shirt - Beaumont
"The game for the Barbarians last year was against Bedford and that was a great experience. Now I'm looking forward to the next game at Richmond, when my younger brother Josh will also be playing.
"It will be great to wear an England shirt for the first time and sing the national anthem, but any celebrations will have to be low key – I'm flying back early on Saturday to play for Fylde in a local derby against Preston Grasshoppers. At least that's what I'm saying now."
Young Beaumont is one of nine players who will be making their Counties XV debut on Friday as the customary merry-go-round that is the selection process for this team unfolds along familiar lines.
Blaydon hooker Matt Hall is the only survivor from the team which beat their Irish Counterparts at Stourbridge last year, while Blackheath’s Dave Allen (2007) and his Barking back row colleague James Kellard (2009) are the only other players to have faced the Irish previously.
The back division contains only skipper Gareth Collins at full back with any previous experience at this level and with the Irish side containing the bulk of the team which played at Stourbridge
Manager Mike Old said: "We've had two very good day when training has been extremely sharp. I've never before been in training sessions where a ball hasn't been dropped in two hours. That shows the skill levels and the commitment of the players.
"I'm pleased with the selection, which was one of the toughest we've had and I don’t think we have any weak links in the team. I happy with Sam's selection, he's earned his chance as a specialist No.8 and he forms a very strong back row of players with differing styles."
England Counties squad
Gareth Collins (C) (Leicester Lions); David Vincent (Barking), Peter Hodgkinson (Ealing Trailfinders), Tom Wheatcroft (Barking), Tom Jarvis (Stourbridge); Dan Mugford (Cambridge), Ben Spencer (Cambridge); Alex Clarke (London Scottish), Matt Hall (Blaydon), Aaron Liffchak (Barking), Steve Pape (Rosslyn Park), Josh Brown (London Scottish), James Kellard (Barking), Dave Allen (Blackheath), Sam Beaumont (Fylde)
Replacements: Dan Lloyd-Jones (Barking), Alex MacKenzie (Barking), James Ngan (Barking), Tom Standfield (London Scottish), Stefan Liebenberg (Old Albanians), Mike Waywell (Fylde), James Stephenson (Blackheath)