Wasps duo in England men U18s squad to play South Africa Schools

Date: 16 Aug 2019

Wasps pair Charlie Atkinson and Daniel Eckersley have been named in Jim Mallinder's England Under 18s squad to face South Africa Schools in their final fixture of the U18 International Series on Saturday. 

Mallinder makes eight changes to his side for the match at Hugenote High, Wellington (kick off 1.35pm BST).

In the front-row, props Phil Brantingham and Fin Baxter return to the starting XV with Kit Smith named at number-eight.

A new half-back pairing sees Sam Edwards partner Orlando Bailey, while Louis Hillman-Cooper starts at inside-centre.

Matthew Ward and Alex Harmes are named on either wing, with flanker Emeka Ilione named as captain.

Mallinder's side were beaten in their opening fixture of the tournament by Argentina, before defeating France on Tuesday in Paarl.

The tour marks the start of the U18 international season for England’s pathway and Mallinder said: “Ending the tour against the hosts is a really nice way to finish and I’m sure it will be a great experience for the players. South Africa are unbeaten which makes it even more of a test for us and the players are excited to take them on.

“Whenever you play a South African team it is always a very physical challenge. They have some big carriers, the forwards like to get around the corner and they test you defensively so it’s going to be a really tough encounter for the players but one they are relishing. We feel we’ve advanced over the past week or so, technically and tactically we have improved as a team and the players have really bonded off the field.

“This tour has been so important for the players’ development. We came together as 26 individuals and coaches and the tournament has allowed us to gel in a competitive environment and we’ve gradually improved and this third game will allow us to see how far we’ve come.”

England men XV to face South Africa Schools
15. Oliver Melville – Sale Sharks (Sedbergh School)
14. Matthew Ward – Newcastle Falcons (Gosforth Academy)
13. Will Joseph – London Irish (Millfield School)
12. Louis Hillman-Cooper – Gloucester Rugby (Cheltenham College)
11. Alex Harmes – London Irish (St Pauls College)
10. Orlando Bailey – Bath Rugby (Beechen Cliff School)
9. Sam Edwards – Leicester Tigers (Brooksby Melton College)
1. Phil Brantingham – Newcastle Falcons (RGS Newcastle)
2. John Stewart – Bath Rugby (Beechen Cliff School)
3. Fin Baxter – Harlequins (Wellington College)
4. Freddie Thomas – Gloucester Rugby (Dean Close School)
5. Ethan Staddon - Bath Rugby (Beechen Cliff School)
6. Emeka Ilione (captain) – Leicester Tigers (Rugby School)
7. Harry Taylor - Gloucester Rugby (Clifton College)
8. Kit Smith – Leicester Tigers (Oakham School)

16. Tarek Haffar – London Irish (St Pauls College)
17. Joe Keohane – London Irish (St Pauls College)
18. Ewan Richards – Bath Rugby (Millfield School)
19. Daniel Eckersley – Wasps (Bloxham School)
20. Will Trenholm – Harlequins (Cranleigh School)
21. Sam Bryan – Saracens (Felsted School)
22. Ethan Grayson – Northampton Saints (Northampton School for Boys)
23. Michael Dykes – London Irish (St Pauls College)
24. Oscar Beard – Harlequins (Cranleigh School)
25. Charlie Atkinson – Wasps (Abingdon School)

U18 International Series fixtures (all times BST):

Friday 9 August, 2019 – Paul Roos Gymnasium, Stellenbosch
England U18 19-29 Argentina U18

Tuesday 13 August, 2019 – Paarl Gymnasium, Paarl
England U18 29-25 France U18

Saturday 17 August, 2019 – Hugenote High, Wellington
14h00 SA Schools vs England U18