- Latest crop of England U18 players announced for new season
- England have some excellent players coming through – Fletcher
Photo: Getty Images
England U18 have announced their provisional squad for the 2011/12 season, with just Zach Kibirige, Tom Stephenson and Tony Watson remaining from head coach John Fletcher ‘s 2010/11 set-up.
Under the stewardship of Fletcher, England U18 have enjoyed several years of success, with 24 wins in their last 27 internationals, including their most recent triumph – a 46-19 win against Australia last August.
Twelve of last year’s squad, including promising Exeter quartet Luke Cowan-Dickie, Sam Hill, Henry Slade and Jack Nowell, have all graduated to the Under 20 EPS side.
Of the current crop, Gloucester’s Billy Burns has Premiership pedigree as the younger brother of Cherry and Whites fly half, and former England U18 man, Freddie. While London Irish wing Tony Watson has already made his Aviva Premiership debut, coming on as a 70th minute substitute for Topsy Ojo in Irish’s 46-29 win against Newcastle Falcons on September 24.
Photo: Getty Images
Watson has also been nominated by the RFU for the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year, but the 17-year-old back remains unfazed and insists that he’s taking it each game as it comes.
“I’m enjoying my rugby at the moment,” explained Watson. “I’m really excited about the forthcoming season with the U18 squad, we had a lot of success last year, but hopefully we can really push on with the new group.
“John Fletcher and Peter Walton are both exceptional coaches and have helped my development immensely, I’m looking forward to working with them again and improving myself as a player.”
Fletcher added: “We’ve got a lot of new players coming in this season, so we’ll be looking to the likes of Tony, who have played at this level, to lead by example. We feel that the U18 programme complements and adds value to the outstanding work that is going on in the schools, colleges and academies.
“England have some excellent players coming through the system and the future is bright, it is not just the percentage of wins but the style of rugby that we play that is most pleasing. The age group is crutial not just for their rugby development but as important, developing them as good people with good values and behaviours.
England U18 provisional squad 2011/12
Name (School & Club)
Jake Armstrong (Woodhouse Grove & Leeds Carnegie)
Josh Buggea (Hartpury College & Worcester Warriors)
Joel Conlon (Ivybridge Community College & Exeter Chiefs)
Tom Ellis (Millfield & Bath Rugby)
Danny Hobbs (Moulton College & Northampton Saints)
David Hughes (Twyford C& E High School & London Wasps)
Maro Itoje (Harrow School & Saracens)
Sam James (Bishops Storford & Saracens)
Gus Jones (Eton College & London Wasps)
Jonny Kenny (Kings Macclesfield & Sale Sharks)
Alex Lundberg (Hampton & London Wasps)
Max Northcote-Green (Millfied & Bath Rugby)
Beno Obano (Dulwich College & London Wasps)
Steven Uren (Filton College & Bristol Rugby)
Scott Wilson (Sedbergh School & Newcastle Falcons)
Callum Braley (Hartpury College & Bristol Rugby)
Billy Burns (Hartpury College & Gloucester Rugby)
Nick Carpenter (Filton College & Bristol Rugby)
Tom Chapman (Colfe’s School & Saracens)
Oliver Cicognini (Ermysteads Grammar School & Leeds Carnegie)
Oliver Claxton (Adams Grammar School & Worcester Warriors)
Tom Collins (Moulton College & Northampton Saints)
Zach Kibirige (Yarm School & Newcastle Falcons)#
Charlie Kingsman (Kings Canterbury School & Saracens)
Sam Olver (Oundle School & Northampton Saints)
Javiah Pohe (Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth 1st & Leicester Tigers)
Tom Stephenson (Moulton College & Northampton Saints)
Josh Watkins (Bromsgrove School & Worcester Warriors)
Tony Watson (St Georges College & London Irish)