- Stephen Shortland’s charges gear up for cross-border fixture
- “We’ve got to meet the challenge”
Following the Wellington Festival last weekend, England Under 16 now prepare to face Wales on Sunday 19 April at the Centre for Sporting Excellence, Caerphilly (2.30pm kick-off).
After a packed schedule at last weekend’s festival, which is the final stage of an U16 development programme designed to select the best players from each region, the England side will travel West to face Wales in the traditional cross-border fixture.
Commenting on the Wellington Festival, U16 head coach Stephen Shortland said: “The aim of the festival was to be challenged after several weekends of training, so all the players in all four teams faced a really, really big challenge playing at that level.
“All the players got not only the opportunity to play a minimum of two games, but also to get instant feedback, reflection time with coaches and a few technical skill sessions in between.
“They all did well. In fact I would say it’s probably the highest standard it has been since I’ve been involved.”
Looking ahead to this weekend’s fixture, Shortland added: “It will be very, very tough. Wales are a passionate, committed side and very physical as evident by the two teams they put into the festival.
“They are also incredibly effective at the breakdown and look to play; they produce a very positive style of rugby.
“We’ve got to meet the challenge. Playing away from home in Wales increases that challenge but we’re just looking to be accurate in everything that we do and play with intent to match the passion they bring.
“It’s a great challenge to play away from home in these fixtures. It’s a taste of additional competition and it will be a step up from the Wellington Festival.
“Those players that have been selected to wear that England shirt have a great opportunity. It’s still a development process – not everything rests of this fixture – but if we get the processes right, the score should follow. It’s not win or lose but win or learn.”
England U16 squad to face Wales (school/college, club, county)
1. Marcus Street (QE Crediton, Exeter Chiefs, Devon)
2. Beck Cutting (Bromsgrove School, Worcester Warriors, North Midlands)
3. Kieran Verden (Taunton Academy, Bath, Somerset)
4. Josh Basham (Wellington College, London Irish, Berkshire)
5. Joe Tunney (Dr Challoner’s GS, Wasps, Buckinghamshire)
6. James Gulliver (Halliford School, Harlequins, Surrey)
7. Charlie Wright (Honiton Comm College, Exeter Chiefs, Devon)
8. Sam Moore (Merchant Taylors Boys, Sale Sharks, Lancashire)
9. Cameron Brown (Millfield School, Bath, Somerset)
10. Marcus Smith (Brighton College, Harlequins, Sussex)
11. Ben Loader (Reading School, London Irish, Berkshire)
12. Reuben Bird-Tulloch (Eltham College, Saracens, Kent)
13. Tom Seabrook (Wycliffe College, Gloucester, Gloucestershire)
14. Aaron Chapman (Kings College Taunton, Exeter Chiefs, Devon)
15. Nick David (Warwick School, Worcester Warriors, Warwickshire)
16. George Head (Tonbridge School, Harlequins, Surrey)
17. George Costard (Dauntsey’s School, Bath, Dorset & Wilts)
18. Harrison Fowke (Bromsgrove School, Gloucester, North Midlands)
19. James Scott (Bishops Bluecoat, Worcester Warriors, North Midlands)
20. Ted Hill (River School, Worcester Warriors, North Midlands)
21. Tom Walsh (St Ambrose College, Sale Sharks, Cheshire)
22. Tom Hardwick (Bedford Modern School, Northampton Saints, East Midlands)