England Under 18s Head Coach Jim Mallinder has named Wasps duo Daniel Eckersley and Charlie Atkinson in his 26-player squad for the U18 International Series in South Africa next month.
Mallinder’s side will play fixtures against Argentina (Friday 9 August), France (Tuesday 13 August) and South Africa Schools (Saturday 17 August) during the series, with Bloxham School’s Eckersley and Abingdon School’s Atkinson.
Based at Stellenbosch Academy of Sport, the squad will fly to South Africa on Sunday 4 August for the annual development tour which marks the start of the U18 international season and for many players the start of their England journey.
Of the 26 players, seven have been capped at U18 level already with Orlando Bailey (Bath Rugby), Fin Baxter (Harlequins), Phil Brantingham (Newcastle Falcons), Louis Hillman-Cooper (Gloucester Rugby), Ewan Richards (Bath Rugby), John Stewart (Bath Rugby) and Will Trenholm (Harlequins) all previously winning representative honours.
England U18s are led by Mallinder, who is assisted by consultant coaches Jonathan Fisher (London Irish), Mark Luffman (Darlington Mowden Park) and James Lightfoot-Brown (London Irish).
Mallinder said: “The U18 South Africa tour gives our players a unique experience of playing an international tournament, away from home, at the start of their pathway journey.
“To play two fixtures against southern hemisphere opposition, as well as a game against France, will be valuable for them as they look to transition through the pathway and I want them to make the most of the experience.
“I want them to understand what it takes to be part of an England team, but to feel comfortable exploring their game and developing their skills in this environment.
“The games come thick and fast so they will also get an insight into the importance of their behaviour off the pitch, focusing on recovery and analysis as well preparation for the next match.
“The tour is about more than just the matches though and I hope they also get to experience the unique culture in South Africa, form friendships with players they will progress through the pathway with and make some memories along the way.”
England U18s squad for summer development tour
Fin Baxter - Harlequins (Wellington College)
Phil Brantingham - Newcastle Falcons (RGS Newcastle)
Daniel Eckersley - Wasps (Bloxham School)
Jack Forsythe - Worcester Warriors (Warwick School)
Tarek Haffar - London Irish (St Pauls College)
Emeka Ilione - Leicester Tigers (Rugby School)
Joe Keohane - London Irish (St Pauls College)
Ewan Richards - Bath Rugby (Millfield School)
Kit Smith - Leicester Tigers (Oakham School)
Ethan Staddon - Bath Rugby (Beechen Cliff School)
John Stewart - Bath Rugby (Beechen Cliff School)
Freddie Thomas - Gloucester Rugby (Dean Close School)
Will Trenholm - Harlequins (Cranleigh School)
Archie Vanes - Leicester Tigers (Brooksby Melton College)
Charlie Atkinson - Wasps (Abingdon School)
Orlando Bailey - Bath Rugby (Beechen Cliff School)
Oscar Beard - Harlequins (Cranleigh School)
Sam Bryan - Saracens (Felsted School)
Michael Dykes - London Irish (St Pauls College)
Sam Edwards - Leicester Tigers (Brooksby Melton College)
Ethan Grayson - Northampton Saints (Northampton School for Boys)
Alex Harmes - London Irish (St Pauls College)
Louis Hillman-Cooper - Gloucester Rugby (Cheltenham College)
Will Joseph - London Irish (Millfield School)
Oliver Melville - Sale Sharks (Sedbergh School)
Matthew Ward - Newcastle Falcons (Gosforth Academy)
U18 International Series fixtures (all times BST)
Friday 9 August 2019 – Paul Roos Gymnasium, Stellenbosch
12h00 SA Schools A vs France U18
13h30 England U18 vs Argentina U18
15h00 SA Schools vs Wales U18
Tuesday 13 August 2019 – Paarl Gymnasium, Paarl
12h00 SA Schools A vs Wales U18
13h30 SA Schools vs Argentina U18
15h00 England U18 vs France U18
Saturday 17 August 2019 – Hugenote High, Wellington
11h00 SA Schools A vs Argentina U18
12h30 France U18 vs Wales U18
14h00 SA Schools vs England U18