April 2 2010
England U16 A 26-man squad head up six action packed days of rugby over the Easter period when they play three matches during the inaugural Wellington International Festival 2010 staged by the top Crowthorne, Berkshire, based college.
Wellington College International Festival
The 26-man England U16 A squad head up six action packed days of rugby over the Easter period when they play three matches during the inaugural Wellington International Festival 2010 staged by the top Crowthorne, Berkshire, based college.
Wellington have taken over the reigns from Somerset's Millfield School who have held the event for the past eight years and the College have even provided a new pitch especially for the occasion.
While both Wales and the USA are missing this year the England U16 A team, led by Northampton Saints centre Jordan Husband, will be tested to the limits facing Scotland A on Easter Sunday, kick-off 2pm, Belgium the following Tuesday (Apr 6), kick-off 10am, and France A at 1pm on Friday (Apr 9) to close the tournament.
"Scotland is always a firm test and that's what we are focused on at the moment," says Steve Shortland, head coach for the past four years. "Belgium and France A will be a different kind of test for us."
Also playing in the Festival this year are the similar age group national teams of Canada and Portugal along with Italy A and an English Divisions side.
While the senior England U16 team, along with Italy, France and Wales are in Rome competing in this seasons Four Nations competition the England Under 16 A squad members have a glorious opportunity during the Wellington Festival of establishing their credentials for inclusion in future England age-group squads.
It's also a chance for them to not only proudly wear the white shirt with the red rose but to build on their two previous losing games against Northampton Saints U17 Academy, 24-22, and London Wasps U17 Academy side, 31-26, as they get more and more accustomed to playing at a higher standard.
"It's definitely been a very steep learning curve and playing against U17 Academy sides has been a very good test for us as we are U16s," admits Shortland.
"We've certainly matched them but we must now finish the chances we are creating. "We've got to help the lads to mature and improve their standard of play and in the way they are trying new styles of play and to generate their own individual styles based on the key principles of continuity and possession. "We are trying to play a positive style of rugby where we create an environment to make the right decision.
"We've got some very good players involved and it's a very positive squad and this tournament helps turn boys into men." And, as they do not play all of the teams taking part and there is no outright winner the emphasis of the competition is more on how the teams and individuals perform rather than any win at all cost attitude. "We are the stepping stone to the next level of international rugby," underlines Shortland. "We are also the stepping stone to the professional game."
Shortland, now in his fourth year as Head Coach, is once again joined by backs coach Mark Hanslip while the forwards are in the capable hands of newcomer to the coaching team, Biff Wareham.
England U16 A squad (name, position, school, schools CB, club, academy/elite player development group where applicable):-
Saeed Agboke, Wing, Denstone College, Staffordshire, Burton, Leicester Tigers
Rory Anderson, No.8, Eton College, Surrey, Cobham
Matthew Beaumont, Tight-head Prop, Bradford Grammar School, Yorkshire, Leeds Carnegie
James Bloxham, No.8, Millfield School, Somerset, Bath
Oliver Claxton, Fly half, Adams' Grammar School, Staffordshire, Wolverhampton, Leicester Tigers
Luke Cole, Hooker, Hipperholme & Lightcliffe High School, Yorkshire, Old Brodleians, Leeds Carnegie
Niall Crosley, Centre, Bishop Rawstorne High School, Lancashire, Preston Grasshoppers, Sale Sharks
Kieran Davies, Loose-head prop, Sidmouth College, Devon, Sidmouth, Exeter Chiefs
Ralph Dowds, Centre, King Edward & Queen Mary Lytham, Lancashire, Sale Sharks
Alex Gale, Tight-head Prop, Coombeshead College, Devon, Newton Abbot, Exeter Chiefs
Daniel Grange, Lock, Ilkley Grammar School, Yorkshire, Ilkley Rugby Club, Leeds Carnegie
Thomas Hilton-Stevens, Lock, RGS Guildford, Surrey, Cobham, Harlequins EPDG
Andrew Hodgson, Centre/Fly half, The King's School Macclesfield, Cheshire, Cheshire, Sale Sharks
Jordan Husband, Centre, Northampton School for Boys, East Midlands, Old Northamptonians, Northampton Saints
Gus Jones, Open-side flanker, Eton College, Oxfordshire, Oxford Harlequins, London Wasps
Lee Melotti, Full Back/Wing, William Parker School, East Midlands, Old Northamptonians, Northampton Saints
Max Northcote-Green, Blind-side flanker, Millfield School, Somerset, Old Alleynians, Bath
Harry Nuttall, Open-side flanker, The King's School Worcester, North Midlands
Tomas Rhodes, Prop, Flegg High School, Eastern Counties, North Walsham, Leicester Tigers
Simon Sexton, Scrum half, Wellington College, Surrey, London Irish
Alex Smith, Centre, Colfe's School, Kent
Jonathan Taylor, Fly half, Cheadle Hulme School, Cheshire, Manchester, Sale Sharks
Harry Thacker, Hooker, Leicester Grammar School, Leicester, Lutterworth, Leicester Tigers
Sebastian Tullie, Scrum Half, Bradford Grammar School, Yorkshire, Otley, Leeds Carnegie
Harry Wells, Lock, The King's School Peterborough, Notts Lincs & Derbyshire, Deepings, Leicester Tigers EPDG
Alex Wootton, Wing, Sedbergh School, Cheshire, Sedbergh School
Wellington International Festival 2010, fixtures:
Sunday April 4:
France A v Italy A (10am)
Canada v Portugal (12pm)
England A v Scotland (2pm)
Belgium v English Divisions (North & Midlands) (4pm)
Tuesday April 6:
England A v Belgium (10am)
Scotland v France A (12pm)
Italy A v Canada (2pm)
Portugal v English Divisions (London & SE) (4pm)
Friday April 9:
Italy A v English Divisions (South West) (10am)
Scotland v Canada (11am)
Portugal v Belgium (12pm)
England A v France A (1pm).