Ben Kelland is in the London and South East Under-16 squad ©
Academy News Eleven Under-16s called up for England Divisions
Elite Player Development Group manager Ross Stewart says that he is very happy for all the Saints Academy players who have been chosen in one of the four England Divisions.
The RFU has announced the selection of 100 young players with potential and talent, divided into four Divisions – London and South East, Midlands, North, and South West.
The Saints has had 11 players selected across the Divisions – six in the Midlands, three in London and South East, and one each in the South West and the North.
Jake Carter (Bedford School), George Cave (Bedford School), David Hickey (Bedford School), Charlton Kerr (Stowe School), Suva Ma’asi (Wootton Upper) and Tosin Segun (Stowe School) are in the Midlands squad, with Scott Griffin (RGS Colchester), Ben Kelland (Royal Hospital School, Ipswich) and Ehren Painter (Felsted School) in London and South East, James Grayson (Northampton School for Boys) in the North, and Jake Anderson (St Edwards School, Oxford) in the South West.
“I’m obviously very happy for the boys who have been selected, but they all know that this is just the first step for them,” Stewart commented. “Getting to this stage takes hard work, but getting into the final England Under-16 squad will take a lot more effort and commitment, something which also applies at club level, where we have some very promising youngsters coming through.”
Recruitment and development manager Dusty Hare says that there are more players in the Saints ranks who can consider themselves unlucky not to have been chosen.
“I can’t grumble having had 11 lads being selected, but I feel we could have had more, given that this is the most talented group of Under-16s that I’ve seen,” he said.
“It will give some added motivation to the players who have missed out to prove the selectors wrong in the future. There is always the chance to come through, though, with someone like Sam Olver showing that you can come through as a professional and be selected at England Under-18 and England Under-20 even if you miss out at Under-16 level.”
Training and competition for the four squads will remain divisional until April, with John Fletcher and other National Academy Coaches working closely with the England U16s and divisional management teams to ensure consistent coaching and key performance messages on topics such as nutrition and lifestyle.
The four squads will meet this weekend in their respective regions to prepare for the Divisional Festival at Broadstreet RFC (Jan 31st-Feb 1st). Further development camps follow in March (8-9) before the Wellington Festival in April (12-19). In previous years three England squads were selected following the Broadstreet Festival. However this year all four divisions will compete at Wellington, playing two sides from Wales and France and one from Italy and Scotland.
A single England squad will be selected to face Italy U17s on the final day of the festival (Saturday, April 19th) and then to play Wales U16s the following weekend (April 27th).