Smith and Atkinson named in England Under-20s squad

Warriors pair Fin Smith and Seb Atkinson have been named in the England Under-20s Elite Player Squad for 2022 which includes the forthcoming Under-20s Six Nations.

Fly-half Smith and centre Atkinson were both part of the England’s Under-20s Grand Slam side last summer although Atkinson has yet to make his debut ay this level as he was an unused replacement for the tournament which was played in its entirety in Cardiff.

Smith, who was one of England’s stand-out performers in Cardiff, began this season on loan with Ampthill in the Championship but returned to Sixways when Owen Williams tore a hamstring in early October.

Atkinson made his Warriors debut in last Wednesday’s Premiership Rugby Cup win over Gloucester Rugby at Sixways having gained valuable senior experience with Stourbridge in National Two North.

England’s preparations for the Six Nations will begin with two training camps from January 4 to 7 and January 11 to 15. The second camp will conclude with a match against Oxford University.

“Selection for the squad has been based on a combination of things: the previous regional camps we’ve held, the work we do with the club academies and coaches, plus our knowledge of the players within the pathway,” said England Under-20s Head Coach Alan Dickens.

“The communication and collaboration throughout the pathway are excellent and it’s ensuring we identify talented players and get out to see them play early.

“I’d like to thank all the Premiership clubs, the academies, the coaches and Premiership Rugby for their support. It’s been a big team effort.”

“It’s great to have Jordan Turner-Hall join the U20s coaching team as part of our attached coaching programme. He is a young and exciting coach who achieved a lot in his playing career. His current role at Harlequins is all about preparing academy players to transition to the senior squad and that will be hugely valuable to our players who are looking to make the same progression within the England pathway.”

“The squad and coaching team are looking forward to two four-day camps and a training game against Oxford University in the first half of January, which is all part of our preparation for the Six Nations and our first game against Scotland.”

A third Warriors player, flanker Jack Forsythe, has been invited to the first training camp next week having only narrowly missed out on selection for the Six Nations squad.