- Hilton to captain Counties XV
- Alan Paver joins coaching team
Photo: Chris Fell
The England Counties XV selectors have included 13 newcomers in a 26-strong squad for the two-match tour of Georgia next month.
The squad has been selected from players who have played for their counties in this season’s Championship or National Under 20 Championship and will play matches against Emerging Georgia in Tblisi on June 4 and June 8.
The Counties XV squad will be captained by Cornwall lock Ben Hilton and will have a new coaching and management team.
Steve Pope, the Counties XV head coach, is unavailable for the tour because of work commitments, so assistant coach James Shanahan, head coach of Plymouth Albion, will take charge with Alan Paver, the Cornish Pirates prop, joining the coaching team as forwards coach.
Paver, who recently took up a new player/coach role with the Pirates, has played county rugby for Devon and Cornwall but this will be his first involvement with the Counties XV.
Matt Long, the former Birmingham & Solihull prop, will manage the Counties XV for the first time following the retirement of Michael Old after the international against Ireland Club XV at Darlington Mowden Park in February.
The newcomers in the Counties XV squad include scrum-half Rhodri Adamson (Winchester, Newcastle University and Northumberland), who played for England Counties Under 20s in their defeat by Georgia Under 20s at Cambridge last Saturday.
Cambridge prop Jamal Ford-Robinson, who also played for the Counties Under 20s last Saturday, is also in the tour party having represented the senior XV against France Federale XV and Ireland Club XV earlier this season.
The other newcomers are: Richard List, Steve Johnson, Sean Edwards, James Salter, Will Radburn, Jessie Liston, Keith Laughlin, Joe Bedford, Lawrence Rayner, Mike Wilcox, Seb Rodwell and Markus Bercham.
England Counties XV squad
Richard List (Doncaster and Yorkshire)
Tom Mantell (Macclesfield and Cheshire)
Jamal Ford-Robinson (Cambridge and Cornwall)
Steve Johnson (Hull Ionians and Yorkshire)
Sean Edwards (Bishops Storford and Hertfordshire)
James Salter (Redruth and Cornwall)
William Radburn (Birmingham & Solihull and North Midlands)
Chris Wearmouth (Blaydon and Durham)
Ben Hilton (Launceston and Cornwall)
Ollie Cooper-Millar (Old Albanians and Hertfordshire)
Tom Stradwick (Blackheath and Kent)
Billy Johnson (Old Albanians and Hertfordshire)
Jessie Liston (Blackheath and Kent)
Keith Laughlin (Blaydon and Northumberland)
Harry Broadbent (Rosslyn Park and Cheshire)
Joe Bedford (Sandal and Yorkshire)
Rhodri Adamson (Winchester, Newcastle University and Northumberland)
Lawrence Rayner (Old Albanians and Hertfordshire)
Mike Wilcox (Cinderford and Gloucestershire)
Seb Rodwell (Hartpury College and Gloucestershire)
Markus Burcham (Blackheath and Kent)
Cameron Mitchell (Darlington MP and Durham)
Lewis Vinnicombe (Truro and Cornwall)
Nevaro Codlin (Cinderford and Gloucestershire)
Jim Wigglesworth (Cambridge and Yorkshire)
Sean Taylor (Preston Grasshoppers and Lancashire)