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Under 20s look to Slam defence

17 November 2011

  • Profiles of three promising England Under 20 players
  • Recent Under 20 acheivements part of a successful Elite Department

Defending Under 20 Six Nations Grand Slam winners England regroup in December for their first training camp of the new season. As they begin preparations for another tilt at the Six Nations and the Junior World Championship in 2012, looks at three Under 20 players who are already making an impact in the Aviva Premiership

George Ford

George Ford of England and Leicesterkicks the ball

Photo: Getty Images

After becoming the youngest player to take part in a professional club match, George Ford, the former England U18 captain, enjoyed the accolade of being crowned the IRB Youngs Player of the Year for 2011 after his eye-catching displays for the England U20 side.

He was also the only person involved in a team sport to be among a shortlist of ten for the 2009 BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year award.

Elliot Daly

Scoring a try in his second match for England U18 in the 33-16 win over France at Newbury in February 2010 enhanced the impression that Croydon-born Elliot Daly has created since stepping up from England U16. It clearly signposted his route to success with the U20 side for which he scored eight tries in nine matches in 2010-11.

He has studied for A levels in Mathematics, Geography, and Physical Education at Whitgift School, is a member of London Wasps Academy and has captained the club’s A team. Elliot made his senior debut against Leinster at Donnybrook, Dublin in a 2010-11 warm up match.

Kyle Sinckler

England Under 20 and Harlequins prop Kyle Sinckler

Photo: Getty Images

Modelling himself on Carl Hayman, the All Blacks’ prop, has helped to uplift Kyle Sinckler to international age group status.

He said: "In my opinion, Carl is the best tight head prop that the game has seen and I also admire Dan Cole.” Appearances in 13 of England’s 17 matches at U18 level between December 2009 and August 2011, alongside U16 international honours proved Kyle’s capabilities. His skills also took him into Harlequins Academy after ten years with Battersea Ironsides.

Under 20s and the Elite setup

The Under 20s are part of an Elite Rugby Department that is responsible for player development, coaching and refereeing at the highest level. Among other things, the department is also responsible for England representative teams from Under 18 to the Senior Men.

The RFU Elite Rugby Department covers

  • Representative teams – Seniors, Saxons, Sevens, Under-20s, Under-18s
  • Elite Player Development, including Academies
  • Elite Coach Development, including National Academy coaches
  • Elite Referees
  • Sports Science & Medicine
  • Managing relationship between the RFU, PRA and PRL, including 8-year agreement with the Aviva Premiership clubs and English Qualified Player scheme
  • Managing the RFU Championship English Qualified Player Scheme

Since summer 2007, when Rob Andrew upgraded the age-group and player development programmes the following has been achieved in age group internationals

England U18

  • Won 24 of 27 games 89 per cent
  • Last outing: beat Australia 46-19 in Sydney
  • Grand Slams 2008, 2009, 2010

England U20

  • Won 32 of 40 games 80 per cent
  • Grand Slams 2008, 2011. JWC finalists 2008, 2009, 2011
  • George Ford IRB Young Player of the Year (first ever England winner)

Senior international caps from the programme in this period: Courtney Lawes, Ben Youngs, Alex Corbisiero, Joe Simpson, Charlie Sharples, Manu Tuilagi

England Saxons

  • Won 17 of 19 games 89 per cent
  • Three out of four Churchill Cups won
  • Age profile of squad 2011 – 23 years 9 months

England Qualified Players

  • Since the introduction of the EQP scheme, the number of young English players appearing in the Premiership is rising
  • Season 2009-10 – 61.6 per cent of matchday squads 23 or under
  • Season 2010-11 – 67.1 per cent of matchday squads 23 or under