Ben Donnell has been named in the England Under-18s squad as preparations get underway for their season opener against France at the Stade Jean Rolland on 3 March (kick-off 2pm GMT).

Donnell, who attends Peter Symonds College, made his first team debut for London Irish away to Gloucester in the Anglo-Welsh Cup back in November, when the back row was exposed to valuable game time as a second half replacement.  

The talented 17-year old is part of a 42-man development squad that will assemble at a training camp this Thursday. An England regional academy Under-17s squad has also been announced with Phil Cokanasiga (St Paul’s College), Chunya Munga (Leighton Park School) and Fin Rossiter (Wellington College) all attending the training camp today.   

“As a club and as an academy, we’re proud to see all four lads gaining international recognition,” said academy manager Patrick O’Grady.

“They thoroughly deserve a call-up and it’s a fantastic opportunity for them to be challenged at the highest level.”

England Under-18 head coach John Fletcher said: “We’ve coached and assessed players in our pre-Christmas camps as well as watching the seven rounds of under-18 academy games, and have come up with a group of exciting young players.

“Along with their regional academies we want to support them with their individual development and expose them to an international environment, which we will be doing over the next six games. Everyone will get an opportunity to play a significant role in the games.”

London Irish’s next home game is against Worcester Warriors on Sunday 25 February (kick-off 1pm), with tickets available from £3 for under 13s and £23 for adults by calling the Ticket Office on 0118 968 1016 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, Saturday 9am to noon) or online at

England U18 squad

Harry Barlow, Harlequins, Cranleigh School
George Barton, Gloucester Rugby, Dean Close School
Tom de Glanville, Bath Rugby, Beechen Cliff School
Connor Doherty, Sale Sharks, Kirkham Grammar School
Reece Dunn, Gloucester Rugby, St Peter's High School
Josh Hodge, Newcastle Falcons, Sedbergh School
Cameron Kelemeti, Newcastle Falcons, Durham School
Ollie Lawrence, Worcester Warriors, Bromsgrove School
Jacob Morris, Gloucester Rugby, Hartpury College
Morgan Passman, Newcastle Falcons, Gosforth Academy
Sam Maunder, Exeter Chiefs, Blundell's School
Blake Boyland, Bristol Rugby, Filton College
Cameron Redpath, Sale Sharks, Sedbergh School
Jack Reeves, Gloucester Rugby, Hartpury College
Will Simonds, Wasps, The Henley College
Ollie Sleightholme, Northampton Saints, Northampton School for Boys
Sam Spink, Wasps, Wellington College
Manu Vunipola, Saracens, Harrow School
Kieran Wilkinson, Sale Sharks, Kirkham Grammar School

Ollie Adkins, Gloucester Rugby, Hartpury College
Alfie Barbeary, Wasps, Bloxham School
Jack Bartlett, Gloucester Rugby
Rouban Birch, Sale Sharks, Sedbergh School
Will Capon, Bristol Rugby, Bristol Grammar School
Richard Capstick, Exeter Chiefs, Exeter College
Ben Donnell, London Irish, Peter Symonds College
Sam Dugdale, Sale Sharks, Kirkham Grammar School
Rob Farrar, Newcastle Falcons, Sedbergh School
Cal Ford, Sale Sharks, Sandbach School
Lewis Holsey, Worcester Warriors, Solihull School
Tom Jeanes, Bath Rugby, Beechen Cliff School
Cameron Jordan, Leicester Tigers, Oakham School
Ted Leatherbarrow, Sale Sharks, Kirkham Grammar School
Samson Ma'asi, Northampton Saints, St Josephs
Tom Marshall, Newcastle Falcons, Gosforth Academy
George Martin, Leicester Tigers, Brooksby Melton College
Will Montgomery, Newcastle Falcons, Kirkbie Kendal School
Alfie Petch, Exeter Chiefs, Exeter College
Kapeli Pifeleti, Saracens, Haileybury School
Bevan Rodd, Sale Sharks, Sedbergh School
JJ Tonks, Gloucester Rugby, Hartpury College
Rus Tuima, Exeter Chiefs, Exeter College

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