- Former England captain Bill Beaumont backs youngsters
- We have to keep the conveyor belt moving – Beaumont
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Former England captain and IRB Council member Bill Beaumont has said that the player development system England has in place is working, but insists that it’s vital to keep the conveyor belt moving.
Beaumont was at Fylde RFC last Sunday to watch the next generation of English talent pit their wits against their French counterparts in a game England won 18-16.
“Fylde is a true rugby area and to get games like the England Under 18 match against France is excellent,” Beaumont said. “Fans came out in numbers and they saw an extremely competitive game between two talented young sides.
“The English guys showed good character out there, France put up a good fight – particularly in the second half – and I’m sure John Fletcher will be delighted to get the win. The defence was good, and the set-piece was also a plus, but for their first competitive game together, I thought that England did very well.”
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Sunday’s win was the first time England’s Under 18 side have played together since last August’s 46-19 win against Australia in Sydney, and while many of those players have now progressed into the Under 20 set-up, Beaumont says that the player progression under the tutelage of Fletcher is key.
The former lock said: “The English system is working. The international journey starts at Under 18 level, and it exposes the guys to playing other nations, and it enables them to work with different coaches and to play different styles of rugby.
“But it’s important that the players kick on from here, you can’t just play for the 18s and think that you’ve made it, it’s all about bettering yourself, and pushing on. We have to keep the conveyor belt moving.”
Photo: RFU Archive
Another one of England’s representative sides, England Students, holds a more personal draw for Beaumont, as his son Josh plays flanker. They face Wales Students this Friday at the Twickenham Stoop, kick off 5pm, and Beaumont explains the benefit of giving students the opportunity to represent their country.
“Everybody wants to play for England,” he added. “And for guys that maybe haven’t been picked up by academies for whatever reason and have gone down the academic route, this offers them a shot at that.
“I’m sure that there are a few players in that side that are good enough to play at an even higher level, I’m looking forward to the match for personal reasons, but I’ll also stay on watch England Under 20 play Wales to see how they fare – it will be a great evening of rugby.”