RUGBY UNION Hartpury hosts Six Nations U18s Festival

england rugby1Jim Mallinder has named his England squad for the Under 18s Six Nations Festival being staged in Gloucestershire until Sunday April 21.

The televised free-to-see festival is being hosted by England Rugby at Hartpury University and College and will feature sets of fixtures at Hartpury's Gillman’s Ground, Worcester's Sixways Stadium and Gloucester Rugby's Kingsholm - all screened live via FreeSports TV.

Eleven of the squad are based in the South West while George Martin played in last year's tournament, hosted in Wales.

Jack Bates, Harvey Beaton, Jack Clement, Phil Cokanasiga, Tom Curtis, Martin, Nahum Merigan, Raffi Qurike, Sam Riley and Tom Roebuck all toured South Africa last August in the U18 Aon International Series which marked the start of the U18 pathway season.

Curtis, Clement and Quirke all played for England U19s last weekend, while Ollie Stonham is uncapped at age-grade level so is in line for his England U18 debut.

England face Wales on Saturday (April 13), before matches against Ireland (Wednesday April 17) and France (Sunday April 21) with entry free at all three venues.

Players, coaches and management will also have access to a range of off-field experiences and development opportunities in between match activity during the 10 days.

England U18s are led by pathway performance coach Mallinder, and consultant coaches Jonathan Fisher, Mark Luffman and Sean Marsden for the season.

The festival structure will be overseen by the Rugby Football Union’s head of regional academies Don Barrell.

Mallinder says: “Selecting this group has been a gradual process, we took a portion of this squad to South Africa in August and along with players who have impressed us over the course of the season through performances at school and their academies we have a picked a strong 26 for the festival.

“This will be a unique experience for these players where they will play three international fixtures over the course of two weeks while staying in camp together. We’ve had a one-off fixture against Scotland with the majority of this group but this will be different as we have the players for longer so we want to build as a team and them to develop as players.

“This will be a different environment, the players will be living alongside their opponents, playing against them while also experiencing a number of off-field activities with their peers which will be fascinating for both players and coaches.”

England U18 Six Nations Festival squad

Orlando Bailey Bath Rugby (Beechen Cliff School)
Jack Bates Bristol Bears (SGS College)
Fin Baxter Harlequins (Wellington College)
Harvey Beaton Saracens (Sutton Valence)
Archie Benson Gloucester Rugby (Dean Close School)
Joe Browning Leicester Tigers (Denstone College)
Joe Carpenter Yorkshire Carnegie (Woodhouse Grove)
Jack Clement Gloucester Rugby (Cheltenham College)
Phil Cokanasiga London Irish (St Pauls College)
Tom Curtis Sale Sharks (Sedbergh School)
Harry Fry Gloucester Rugby (Hartpury College)
Josh Gray Gloucester Rugby (Dean Close School)
Luke Green London Irish (St Paul’s Catholic College)
Louis Hillman-Cooper Gloucester Rugby (Cheltenham College)
George Martin Leicester Tigers (Brooksby Melton College)
Nahum Merigan Bath Rugby (Beechen Cliff School)
Raphael Quirke Sale Sharks (St Ambrose College)
Ewan Richards Bath Rugby (Millfield School)
Sam Riley Harlequins (St George's Weybridge)
Tom Roebuck Sale Sharks (Wirral Grammar)
John Stewart Bath Rugby (Beechen Cliff School)
Ollie Stonham Saracens (Felsted School)
Will Trenholm Harlequins (Cranleigh School)
Jack van Poortvliet Leicester Tigers (Oakham School)
Jude Williams Wasps (Caterham School)
George Worboys Bath Rugby (Beechen Cliff)

Festival fixtures

Matchday one - Saturday 13 April – live on FreeSports
KO Gillman’s Ground, Gloucester
12:10 England v Wales
14:40 Ireland v France
17:10 Scotland v Italy

Matchday two - Wednesday 17 April – live on FreeSports
KO Sixways Stadium, Worcester
11:10 France v Italy
13:40 Ireland v England
16:10 Wales v Scotland

Matchday three - Sunday 21 April – live on FreeSports
KO Kingsholm Stadium, Gloucester
11:10 Scotland v Ireland
13.40 England v France
16:10 Italy v Wales

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