A trio of young Warriors will be in action for England Under-18s and England Clubs & Schools Under-18s this week.
England Under 18 have made eleven changes to the side that beat Portugal 82-8 for Tuesday’s FIRA/AER European Championship semi-final against Scotland in France, KO 6.00pm – but retain Worcester back row Andrew Boyce.
England played Scotland on March 3 in Darlington, scoring nine-tries in a 57-12 win, but Forwards Coach Pete Walton is well aware that England will need to match that level of performance.
He said: “We enjoyed a good win against Portugal, there are areas to work on, but we scored 14 tries so there are a lot of positives to take out of it. We had a lot of fresh faces in the squad and they all gelled together very well.
“We know that Scotland have improved since we last played them, and we played very well that day, so it’s up to us to match that performance, or better it.”
Meanwhile, England Clubs & Schools Under 18s feature Worcester duo Colin Dickson and Sam Smith as they look to complete a double over the Ireland Under 18 Clubs XV when they meet at Coolmine RFC on Saturday, March 30(2pm).
The England team were 38-10 winners when the sides met for the first time last season, but Head Coach Dave Reed is expecting a reaction to that defeat from the Irish lads and a tough test in Dublin.
“We’re very excited about the prospect of playing Ireland away.” said Reed. “We had a decent performance last year and we have a good squad this time around which has trained really well in the preparations for the game. The lads have gelled together well – we couldn’t have asked for anything better.
“We were beaten 19-3 by Bedford Under 19s in a warm-up game, but they haven’t lost this season and there was no score in the second-half which proved were are capable of learning lessons as we go and putting things right.
“That said, Ireland will be very, very tough in their own back yard and they will be very keen to do well after last year.
“Obviously we’re looking for a win, but the most important thing is for these lads to be put into the spotlight and given the chance to development their rugby and showcase their talents.
“Development and exposure are the key elements – last year we had half-a-dozen players who were with Academies when we set out, but that number grew after the Ireland game and hopefully that will occur again after Saturday.”