Tom Willis named as captain for second England U18s game

Date: 14 Aug 2017

Wasps Senior Academy player Tom Willis has been named as captain for England Under 18s second game of their summer development tour against Wales in South Africa. 

Willis has been named at number eight, with fellow Wasps Will Porter and Sam Spink both included on the bench. 

The side opened the ‘U19 International Series’ with a 24-8 victory over France on 11 August in Stellenbosch.

They next face Wales on Tuesday, 15 August (1.15pm BST – live on S4C’s facebook page) and have made a number of changes as head coach John Fletcher looks to give the entire 26-man squad game time on the tour.

George Head, Beck Cutting and Nick Rigby make up the front row. Josh Basham and Alex Coles start in the second row while Willis is joined by Aaron Hinkley and Richard Capstick in the back row.

Ollie Fox starts at scrum half while Kieran Wilkinson again plays at number 10. Ollie Hassell-Collins had originally been due to start against France before being ruled out with sickness, however, having recovered is named at full back.

Cadan Murley, who came in as a late replacement for Hassell-Collins against France and scored twice, also keeps his place and partners Cameron Redpath in midfield.

Tom de Glanville gets a first start at U18 level for England with Tom Seabrook playing on the opposite wing.

“It was always the plan to give everyone as much game time as we can, so we want to give every player a start out here as it’s a development tour,” said England U18 coach Peter Walton.

“We want them all to have a start each before we play South Africa Schools in the final game.”

Wales opened their U19 International Series with a 30-28 victory over SA Schools and Walton is expecting a stern test on Tuesday.

“Wales is always a game full of physicality,” he said.

“We played them earlier in the year and know we need to up our game from that performance.”

He added: “I want to us to go out there and play with passion, creativity and perform as I know we can do.”

Outside of training the squad visited a game reserve and Walton believes it is important for the players to spend time with each other outside of a rugby environment.

“We have had a good few days since we played France, we went out on safari which gave the lads a chance to connect off the pitch,” he said.

“It was great to see what South Africa has to offer outside of a rugby environment and that’s important for the players – they loved it, had loads of fun, the camaraderie was great to see and that’s another reason why we come out here. It’s not all about rugby, we challenge them off the pitch and that helps develop them. They are really coming together on and off the pitch.”

England U18 team to face Wales

Ollie Hassell-Collins (London Irish, St Paul’s School), Tom Seabrook (Gloucester Rugby, Dean Close School), Cadan Murley (Harlequins, Bishop Wordsworth's School), Cameron Redpath (Sale Sharks, Sedbergh School), Tom de Glanville  (Bath Rugby, Beechen Cliff School), Kieran Wilkinson  (Sale Sharks, Kirkham Grammar School), Ollie Fox (Yorkshire Carnegie , New College Pontefract), Tom Willis (capt) (Wasps, The Henley College), Aaron Hinkley (Gloucester Rugby, St Peter’s High School), Richard Capstick (Exeter Chiefs, Exeter College), Alex Coles Northampton Saints, The Perse School), Josh Basham London Irish, Wellington College), Nick Rigby (Worcester Warriors, Warwick School), Beck Cutting (Worcester Warriors, Bromsgrove School), George Head  (Harlequins, Tonbridge School).

Replacements: Tom Rowland  (Bristol Rugby, Bristol Grammar School), Will Capon (Bristol Rugby, Bristol Grammar School), Joe Heyes  (Leicester Tigers, Wyggeston & QEI College), James Scott (Worcester Warriors, Malvern College), Sam Moore  (Sale Sharks, Sedbergh School), Will Porter  (Wasps, Merchant Taylors' School), Sam Spink (Wasps, Wellington College), Nick David Worcester Warriors, Warwick School). 

Results & fixtures

  • Friday 11 August: England U18 24-8 France  - Paul Roos Gymnasium, Stellenbosch 
  • Tuesday 15 August: England U18 v Wales - Paarl Gymnasium, Paarl (1.15pm BST)
  • Saturday 19 August: England U18 v SA Schools - City Park, Athlone (1pm BST)