A HOST of West Country players have been named in the England Under-20 training squad for the 2018/19 season.
Head coach Steve Bates has selected 45 players to attend a development camp.
The camp will take place at Loughborough University from this Friday until Sunday.
It will give pathway coaches an opportunity to assess players further ahead of U20 Elite Player Squad (EPS) selection in January 2019. The group include 15 players capped at U20 level last season.
The 32-Elite Player Squad, which will compete in the 2019 U20s Six Nations as well as the World Rugby U20 Championship in May/June, are led by Bates as well as fellow pathway performance coach Jim Mallinder.
Mark Hopley, Richard Whiffin and James Scaysbrook also join for the season as part of the latest coach development programme agreement between England Rugby and Premiership Rugby.
“The development camp gives us an opportunity to cover some basic details with a larger number of players who could all be required at various points during the Six Nations,” said Bates. “It also gives us a chance to look closely at the wider group and players outside of the 32-man EPS who might be used during the international season. We’ve selected the training squad through a combined effort of working with the academy management and watching the players over the past few months.”
England U20s open their Six Nations campaign against Ireland at the Irish Independent Park in Cork on Friday, February 1 (7.15 pm).
The side then take on France on Saturday, February 9 at Sandy Park (12.05pm), home of Exeter Chiefs, live on Sky Sports.
The U20s next head to the ZipWorld Stadium, Colwyn Bay, to face Wales on Friday, February 22 (KO 19.05 GMT), live on S4C, before a second home fixture of the tournament with the side playing Italy on Friday, March 8 at Bedford Blues’ Goldington Road (7.45 pm), live on Sky Sports.
Their final fixture of the Six Nations will be against Scotland on Friday, March 15 at Northampton Saints’ Franklin’s Gardens (7.45 pm), live on Sky Sports.
The 2019 World Rugby U20 Championship will be held in Argentina.
Under-20 training squad
Forwards: Ollie Adkins (Gloucester), Josh Basham (Durham University), Will Capon (Bristol Bears), Richard Capstick (Exeter Chiefs), Andy Christie (Saracens), Alex Coles (Northampton Saints), Nic Dolly (Sale Sharks), Ben Donnell (London Irish), James Dun (Bristol Bears), Taylor Gough (Leicester Tigers), Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers), Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors), Aaron Hinkley (Gloucester), Joel Kpoku (Saracens), Jon Kpoku (Saracens), Samson Ma’asi (Northampton Saints), Tom Marshall (Newcastle Falcons), Kai Owen (Worcester Warriors), Alfie Petch (Exeter Chiefs), Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks), James Scott (Worcester Warriors), Marcus Street (Exeter Chiefs), Rusiate Tuima (Exeter Chiefs), Tom Willis (Wasps).
Backs: Tom De Glanville (Bath), Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints), Connor Doherty (Sale Sharks), Reece Dunn (Gloucester), Ollie Fox (Yorkshire Carnegie), Tom Hardwick (Leicester Tigers), Ollie Hassell-Collins (London Irish), Josh Hodge (Newcastle Falcons), Luke James (Sale Sharks), Ollie Lawrence (Worcester Warriors), Sam Maunder (Exeter Chiefs), Cadan Murley (Harlequins), Cam Nordli-Kelemeti (Newcastle Falcons), Cam Redpath (Sale Sharks), Arron Reed (Sale Sharks), Tom Seabrook (Gloucester), Ollie Sleightholme (Northampton Saints), Will Simonds (Wasps), Manu Vunipola (Saracens), Gus Warr (Sale Sharks), Kieran Wilkinson (Sale Sharks).