Worcester Warriors have four players in the England Under-18s squad for February’s development camp at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre.
Jack Forsythe, Seb Atkinson, Finlay Smith and Ollie Wynn have all been named in the 46-player squad and will be keen to impress on the four-day camp as preparations step-up ahead of April’s U18 Six Nations Festival in France.
Forsythe, a key part of the Warriors squad that reached the Premiership Rugby Academy League Finals and playmaker Smith fly the flag for Warwick School, while centre Atkinson and scrum-half Wynn will be doing Bromsgrove School proud.
The squad is led by new Head Coach Jonathan Pendlebury, who is assisted by Darlington Mowden Park coach Mark Luffman and Harlequins academy coach Mark Mapletoft for the season.
Former England international Mapletoft has previous experience of coaching in the player pathway having been England Under-20s coach and also held a senior role at Harlequins until 2019. Luffman has coached in the pathway since 2014 and continues his role with England Under-18s.
Players have been selected by pathway staff based on their performances in the Under-18 Academy League, as well as school competitions and also in consultation with academy managers from the 14 regional academies.
The camp will also allow coaches to discuss playing principles and themes with the squad ahead of the two standalone fixtures against Scotland and France in March, as well as the Under-18 Six Nations Festival. Players will be encouraged to explore the boundaries of their game during training and in addition, six players will be invited into camp as part of the wider squad as a way to support their future development.
“My first priority is to get to know these players as well as I can,” said Head Coach Pendlebury.
“The players are the pathway. As a pathway management team we want to support the players in their development towards being full-time senior academy players and future internationals as well as help them fulfil their potential as senior players in the game.
“The sessions will be a step up from the last 10 weeks of under-18 academy league fixtures that they have participated in. I expect the players to ‘explore boundaries’ which could be a way of playing or executing a skill or tactic and look to learn something from each session and particularly each game that may support their progression in the game.
“We will explore different themes in attack, defence and transition and we execute or look to utilise these will be a main theme for the group going forward.
“Mark Luffman will continue a role he has had within the age group squads. He is an excellent front-row specialist coach and has helped the development of several Premiership and current international players.
“To be able to draw on the coaching expertise of Mark Mapletoft is also incredibly valuable. He knows what the game looks like at the top level through his work at Harlequins, as well as his previous work with past age group squads, the under-20s and now more closely with Harlequins senior and junior academy players.
“I just can’t wait to start working with this group through the spring and across the five competitive weekends this group will have together.”
England men U18s squad for February development camp
Fin Baxter – Harlequins (Wellington College)
Corey Bowker – Sale Sharks (Kirkham Grammar)
Phil Brantingham – Newcastle Falcons (RGS Newcastle)
Arthur Clark – Gloucester Rugby (Hartpury College)
Joe Elsworth – Exeter Chiefs (Exeter College)
Jack Forsythe – Worcester Warriors (Warwick School)
Ben Grubb – Exeter Chiefs (Truro College)
Tarek Haffar – London Irish (St Pauls College)
Emeka Ilione – Leicester Tigers (Rugby School)
Obinna Nkwocha – Saracens (Felsted School)
Ethan Pearce-Cowley – Exeter Chiefs Truro College
Ewan Richards – Bath Rugby (Millfield School)
Charlie Rice – Bristol Bears (SGS College Filton)
Marcus Rhodes – London Irish (Wellington College)
Jack Rowntree – Leicester Tigers (Leicester Grammar School)
Ethan Staddon – Bath Rugby (Beechen Cliff School)
John Stewart – Bath Rugby (Beechen Cliff School)
Tristan Smith – Saracens (Felsted School)
Kit Smith – Leicester Tigers (Oakham School)
George Taylor – Bristol Bears (Bristol Grammar School)
Freddie Thomas – Gloucester Rugby (Dean Close School)
Will Trenholm – Harlequins (Cranleigh School)
Andrew Turner – Bristol Bears (SGS College Filton)
Joe Vajner – London Irish (Whitgift School)
Archie Vanes – Leicester Tigers (Brooksby Melton College)
Owen Vassello – Newcastle Falcons (Durham School)
Charlie Atkinson – Wasps (Abingdon School)
Seb Atkinson – Worcester Warriors (Bromsgrove School)
Deago Bailey – Bristol Bears (SGS Filton)
Orlando Bailey – Bath Rugby (Beechen Cliff School)
Oscar Beard – Harlequins (Cranleigh School)
Jamie Benson – Harlequins (Hampton School)
Sam Bryan – Saracens (Felsted School)
Cassius Cleaves – Harlequins (Wellington College)
Ethan Grayson – Northampton Saints (Northampton School for Boys)
Olly Hartley – Wasps (Whitgift School)
Louis Hillman-Cooper – Gloucester Rugby (Cheltenham College)
Brandon Jackson – Saracens (Sutton Valence School)
Matty Jones – Gloucester Rugby (Dean Close School)
Will Joseph – London Irish (Millfield School)
Dani Long-Martinez – Northampton Saints (Norwich School)
Rory Morgan – London Irish (St Pauls College)
Finlay Smith – Worcester Warriors (Warwick School)
Matthew Ward – Newcastle Falcons (Gosforth Academy)
TJ Wilstead – Bristol Bears (Colston’s School)
Ollie Wynn – Worcester Warriors (Bromsgrove School)
Additional wider squad attendees
Tumy Onasanya – Sale Sharks (Pendleton Sixth Form College)
Nonso Agina – Sale Sharks
Harry Hocking – Exeter Chiefs (Truro College)
Ned Hawker – Yorkshire Carnegie (Woodhouse Grove)
Daniel Eckersley – Wasps (Bloxham School)
Nye Thomas – Sale Sharks (Liverpool College)