Josh Basham has been named in the England Under-18s squad for this Sunday’s match against France at Aylesbury Rugby Football Club (kick-off 2pm).
The promising back-row, who featured in the triumphant London Irish Under-18 side crowned Premiership Rugby Academy Champions last year, is named amongst the replacements.
Exiles Academy Manager Patrick O’Grady is pleased with Basham’s progress and believes international recognition will further aid his development.
“I’m delighted for Josh and the call-up to the England squad is reward for all of his hard work,” said O’Grady.
“I’m sure he will give a good account of himself when given the opportunity and I’m looking forward to seeing him in action.
“With the likes of Tom Parton, Joe Cokanasiga and Rory Brand all getting there chance to shine for the under-20s, Josh’s inclusion in the under-18s set-up shows that there is some exciting talent coming through the ranks at present.”
With three fixtures over the coming month, ahead of the International Series, a wider 38-man England Under-18 squad has also been named offering opportunities for a number of players to compete at this level and build on the four training camps that have taken place.
With age-grade coaches John Fletcher, Peter Walton and Russell Earnshaw providing an expressive environment and creative platform for the players to show off their skills, the under-18 programme aims to develop the players on and off the field in five main areas, known as C.A.R.D.S (Creativity, Awareness, Resilience, Decision-Making and Self-Organisation).
England Under-18 Head Coach John Fletcher said: “Our job is to support the players to reach their potential and this match is an exciting opportunity for them. The French team are unpredictable and physical so players will have to adapt throughout the game to compete.
“We have picked an exciting wider squad who will show good attacking intent and I’m looking forward to seeing how they perform over the next six fixtures. Across these matches we will select different combinations of players allowing everyone in the squad a good opportunity to play.”
England Under-18s’ second fixture this season will see them face Scotland Under-18s at Preston Grasshoppers RFC on Sunday 12 March and this match will also be streamed live on the England Rugby website. Full details of England U18s upcoming fixtures are below.
Follow this link to view the wider England U18 squad: http://www.englandrugby.com/england/england-18s/squads/
England U18 team to face France U18
15. Elliot Obatoyinbo (Saracens – Harrow School)
14. Tom Seabrook (Gloucester Rugby – Dean Close)
13. Oli Morris (Saracens – New Hall)
12. Fraser Strachan (Northampton Saints – Bedford School)
11. Cadan Murley (Harlequins – Bishop Wordsworth’s Grammar School)
10. Marcus Smith (Harlequins - Brighton College)
9. Will Porter (Wasps – Merchant Taylors School)
1. Tom Rowland (Bristol Rugby – Bristol Grammar School)
2. Will Capon (Bristol Rugby – Bristol Grammar School)
3. Marcus Street (Exeter Chiefs – Exeter College)
4. Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors – Worcester College)
5. James Scott (Worcester Warriors – Malvern College)
6. Tom Willis (Wasps – The Henley College)
7. Sean Reffell (Saracens – Harrow School)
8. Sam Moore (Sale Sharks – Sedbergh School)
16. Nick Rigby (Worcester Warriors - Warwick School)
17. Nic Dolly (Sale Sharks)
18. Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers - Wyggeston & QEI College)
19. Josh Basham (London Irish - Wellington College)
20. Charlie Wright (Exeter Chiefs - Exeter College)
21. Ollie Fox (Yorkshire Carnegie - New College Pontefract)
22. Cameron Redpath (Sale Sharks – Sedbergh School)
23. Iwan Hughes (Bristol Rugby - SGS College)
England U18 2016-17 fixtures (subject to change)
England U18 v France U18: Sunday 5 March – Aylesbury RFC (2:00pm KO)
England U18 v Scotland U18: Sunday 12 March – Preston Grasshoppers RFC (2:00pm KO)
Tickets for this game can be bought on the gate on the day
England U18 v Wales U18: Sunday 26 March - Ebbw Vale RFC (3:45pm KO)
U18 International Series
England U18 v Canada U18: Saturday 08 April - venue tbc
England U18 v Ireland U18: Wednesday 12 April - venue tbc
England U18 v Scotland U18: Sunday 16 April - venue tbc