The England Under 18s squad to compete in this season's RBS 6 Nations Festival has today (Monday) been announced.
The squad of 26 players has been selected from the Rugby Football Union's Regional Academy system and includes 12 players who ran out for the Under 18s side last season in either the RBS 6 Nations Festival or the Development Tour to Argentina.
The England Under 18s side will be coached by John Fletcher, who joined the RFU in July from Newcastle Falcons. Fletcher led the England Under 18s side to a clean sweep of wins in Argentina. RFU National Academy Coach Peter Walton is England's Assistant Coach.
England head into this season's Six Nations Festival campaign on the back of a grand slam of wins in the European showcase competition in Cork last season, but with several new faces in the side Fletcher says the slate is wiped clean this season.
He said: "I am delighted with this squad and I am really looking forward to working with them. We enjoyed success last season, but this is a new squad and therefore a new opportunity for the players.
"The squad selection began in the summer with a training camp in Loughborough, and since then the squad has been whittled down and we have had a few warm-up games as well as time together as a squad.
"What's really exciting this year is that we have a great balance in the squad. There is competition for places in every position. We have got some really good ball carriers, a strong pack and real pace in the backs so I am looking forward to some exciting rugby."
The England Under 18s Six Nations Festival squad kick off their season against Scotland at Kingston Park on March 22nd, 2pm. On March 29th they play Japan High Schools at Exeter Chiefs' Sandy Park, kick-off 230pm.
England then travel to Parma in Italy for the Six Nations Festival with games against Wales on April 12th, Ireland on April 15th and Italy on April 18th.
England Under 18s Six Nations Festival Squad
Name, Club, School
Harry Allen Saracens Chistlehurst & Sidcup Grammar
*Peter Austin London Irish St Paul's Catholic College
Ryan Bower Leicester Tigers John Cleveland College
Rob Buchanan Harlequins St Bedes School
Matt Everard Leicester Tigers Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth 1st
Ben Glynn Bristol Rugby Filton College
* Alex Gray Newcastle Falcons Barnard Castle
*Sam Jones London Wasps Aylesbury Grammar
Charlie Matthews Harlequins Hurstpeirpoint College
Henry Thomas Bristol Rugby Millfield School
* Joe Trayfoot Harlequins Epsom College
Sam Twomey Harlequins Dulwich College
Billy Vunipola Bristol Rugby Castle School
* Mako Vunipola Bristol Rugby Millfield School
* Joe Cobden Leicester Tigers Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth 1st
* Sam Edgerely London Irish Wellington College
* Owen Farrell Saracens St Georges School
* George Ford Unattached Rishworth School
Ryan Glynn Sale Sharks Sedbergh School
Jonathan Joseph London Irish Millfield School
Jake Sharp Saracens Oaklands College
Andy Short Worcester Warriors Worcester 6th Form College
Sam Stuart Harlequins Sedbergh School
* Christian Wade London Wasps RGS High Wycombe
* Jack Wallace London Wasps RGS High Wycombe
* Marcus Watson London Irish St Georges College
*denotes England Under 18s Six Nations Festival player 2007/2008 season
England Under 18s RBS 6 Nations Festival squad fixtures:
March 22nd, Kingston Park, 2pm England v Scotland
March 29th, Sandy Park, 230pm, England v Japan High Schools
April 12th, 5pm, England v Wales, Grand Parma Rugby
April 15th, 7.30pm, England v Ireland, Viadana RUFC
April 18th, 4.00pm, England v Italy, Viadana RUFC