England Under 18 Head Coach John Fletcher has named his squad for the upcoming FIRA/AER tournament in Madrid – and includes Worcester duo Josh Watkins and Josh Buggea.
Georgia are up first for Fletcher’s side, who have won their first two matches so far this season – a 18-16 win against France and a 20-8 victory against Scotland – and will be looking to better their second place finish in last year’s competition.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge,” Fletcher said. “We’ve done well so far this season, the squad is in pretty good shape in terms of knowing where we are and where we want to be.
“There have been some tough calls to make in terms of selection, some very good players have just missed out – Tom Ellis, Steve Uren and Ollie Claxton to name three – but we’ve had to narrow the squad down and overall we’ve got a good, well organised group.
“Our aim is to play as well as we can, and if we do that we’ve got a good chance of winning. I’d rather play well and lose than not play well and win, you’ve got to focus the players on performing at this age grade.
“This is a big tournament for the lads and Georgia up first will be a big test. For the past few years they have been getting stronger – they play to their strengths, they have big forwards, they’re physical and they will be a handful.”
Josh Buggea (Hartpury College) (Worcester Warriors)
Joel Conlon (Ivybridge Community College) (Exeter Chiefs)
Charlie Ewels (Bryanston School) (Bath Rugby)
Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi (Moulton College) (Northampton Saints)
Maro Itoje (Harrow School) (Saracens)
Gus Jones (Eton College) (London Wasps)
Alex Lundberg (Hampton) (London Wasps)
Reece Marshall (Moulton College) (Northampton Saints)
Ross Moriarty (Hartpury College) (Gloucester)
Max Northcote-Green (Millfield) (Bath Rugby)
Jake Oldaker (Wellington College) (Bath Rugby)
Harry Rudkin (Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth 1st) (Leicester Tigers)
Harry Thacker (Leicester Grammar) (Leicester Tigers)
Scott Wilson (Sedbergh School) (Newcastle Falcons)
Braley Callum (Hartpury College) (Bristol Rugby)
Billy Burns (Hartpury College) (Gloucester Rugby)
Nick Carpenter (Filton College) (Bristol Rugby)
George Catchpole (Leicester Grammar) (Leicester Tigers)
Tom Chapman (Colfe’s School) (Saracens)
Nathan Earle (Oaklands) (Saracens)
Zach Kibirige (Yarm School) (Newcastle Falcons)
Sam Olver (Oundle School) (Northampton Saints)
Howard Packman (Moulton College) (Northampton Saints)
Javiah Pohe (Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth 1st) (Leicester Tigers)
Tom Stephenson (Moulton College) (Northampton Saints)
Josh Watkins (Bromsgrove School) (Worcester Warriors)
England v Georgia (FIRA Elite Match 2) (10.30am)
Loser M2 v Loser M3 (FIRA Elite Match 8) (12.45pm)
or Winner M2 v Winner M3 (FIRA Elite Match 6) (3.30pm)
Winner M5 v Winner M6 (4:45pm)
or Loser M5 v Loser M6 (3:00pm)
or Winner M7 v Winner M8 (12:45pm)
or Loser M7 v Loser M8 (11:00am)