- John Fletcher tributes England Under 18 squad
- Such a good academy system – Fletcher
Photo: Getty Images
England Under 18 Head Coach John Fletcher feels that England are privileged to have such a structured and well-managed academy system that is producing young players brimming with potential.
On the back of England ‘s victory in the FIRA/AER European Championship last Saturday you would forgive Fletcher for taking a breather, but his focus now switches to finding the future starlets.
“There’s loads going on now,” he said. “We’ve got Under 15 clinics, Under 16 camps, Under 17 matches and so on – the work now starts for next year and to see who’s coming through the regional academies.
“We are very fortunate to have such a good academy system. There are 14 fantastic academies, and all of the systems that feed them – the clubs, schools and counties – do a great job.
Photo: Raul Garcia
“The regional academies add huge value to our game and year on year the quality of the person, and the player, coming through is great and it makes our job a lot easier.
England U18 clinched the Justin Bridou trophy last Saturday, beating Ireland 25-13 in the final in Madrid, and Fletcher is quick to praise the team mentality within the group.
“From a team point of view all 26 players have contributed, “ he said. “The guys who have had less involvement are the guys that are younger, so they will get their chance next year.
“But this was very much a team effort, they work extremely hard, they train very well and you know that they are a hard team to beat.
"We head to South Africa in August and our aim is to go out there and play as well as well can and to crank it up from where we are now - but it will be tough out there. We'll come up against Wales, France and of course South Africa in their own back yard but it is a brilliant opportunity for the guys."