- Students face Portugal on January 24
- “We are very, very happy with the strength of the squad” – team manager Phil Llewellyn
England Students face Portugal on Friday, January 24 and are looking to build on the success of last year when they came from behind to secure a close-fought 25-20 win over the same opposition.
The squad, selected from trials held at Loughborough University, is taken from across the country and offers an excellent opportunity for players to play at an international level while studying.
“We are very, very happy with the strength of the squad” said team manager Phil Llewellyn.
“We had brilliant quality of players at the trials and this made selection very difficult. We had to spend a very long time deliberating over whom to take on the trip to Portugal and hopefully we can go there and do the job.
“The strength in depth of the squad is clear, and hopefully this will be shown in the performance. We will look to go out there and perform first and foremost and look to play with a structure to allow the player to use their talent.
“There is an incredible amount of talent at student level and we hope to utilise this, to go out and express themselves.”
Last year England Students came back from a three-point deficit at half-time and Llewellyn was under no illusions as to the task that awaits the side this time around
“They are very impressive and have massive strength in depth themselves,” he added.
“They are very physical, which is always the case when you are facing experienced sides. We will be fielding a side of 20 to 23 year-olds. It’s not a mismatch but they can have an edge physically and we will have to step up.
“As last year shows, however; it is very small margins at this level of the game, which is huge credit to university rugby, and the boys will have to take it to the opposition.”
England Students squad to face Portugal
Forwards: Matthew Beesley (Leeds Met), Alex Boggis (Nottingham), Lovejoy Chawatama (UWE), Freddie Clarke (Bath), Tom Crozier (Loughborough), Paul Davis, James Gray (both Exeter), Tom Hall (Cardiff Met), Adam Jamieson (Bath), George Messum (Loughborough), Sean Robinson (Durham), James Stephenson (Bristol), Josh Walker (Cardiff Met)
Backs: Ben Axten-Burrett (Cardiff Met), Oliver Claxton (Exeter), Mark Cooke (Cardiff Met), Robert Coote (Exeter), Murray Galbraith-Lowe (Durham), Jake Henry (Cardiff Met), Sam Katz (Loughborough), Ruaridh McConnochie (University of Gloucestershire), Sebastian Rodwell (Hartpury), Guy Wood (Cardiff Met)