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Four young Saints named in England U18 squad for France trip

Four Northampton Saints Academy players have been selected in the England U18 squad to travel to Chalon-sur-Saône to play France on Saturday 9 March. 

Aiden Ainsworth-Cave, Jonny Weimann, Tom Dye and Rafe Witheat have been included in the 24-player group for the fixture that is set to take place at Rugby Tango Chalonnais, kicking-off at 5pm CET and is a capped fixture at U18 age-grade level. 

15 new previously-uncapped players are introduced into the touring party to the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region of eastern France. The squad boasts players from nine Premiership Rugby academies, as well as the RFU-centralised Midlands West and Midlands Central academies.

In the most recent meeting of the European pathway sides, England emerged 41-0 victors in the 2023 U18 International Series in South Africa, scoring seven unanswered tries in the first Test of the three-game series.

Last week saw the first meeting of the U18 group in 2024, held at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre where management coordinated a four-day development camp following the conclusion of the Premiership Rugby U18 Academy League. 

The team ready themselves for the trip to France in anticipation for this year’s Six Nations Rugby U18 Men’s Festival, with fixtures against Wales, Scotland and the recently introduced Georgia now confirmed at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi in Parma, Italy.

England U18 Men’s head coach Jonathan Pendlebury said: “Myself, Will [assistant coach Will Parkin] and the staff are really excited to bring this new cohort into the U18 level here at England Rugby. We’re aiming to give them positive experiences on and off the field, with what promises to be a really exciting trip across the Channel. 

“In what will be our first outing of the season, France pose a great challenge for us to overcome and will prepare us nicely for our trip to Parma next month.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to not only prepare for our U18 Six Nations Festival, but also to implement our core values of exploration and adaptation as we ready these young men to excel as England internationals.” 

ENGLAND U18 MEN’S SQUAD TO FACE FRANCE (includes Academy and School)

Tayo Adegbemile (Saracens, St Albans School) * 
Aiden Ainsworth-Cave (Northampton Saints, Bedford School) 
Jack Bracken (Saracens, St Albans School) * 
Ollie Davies (Sale Sharks, Kirkham Grammar) * 
Joe Davis (Newcastle Falcons, Barnard Castle School) 
Tom Dye (Northampton Saints, Ipswich School) 
Jos Gilmore (Sale Sharks, Kirkham Grammar) 
Charlie Griffin (Saracens, Harrow School) * 
Angus Hall (Saracens, The Judd School, Tonbridge) * 
Patrick Hogg (Newcastle Falcons, Durham School) 
Seb Kelly (Sale Sharks, Kirkham Grammar) 
George Knowles (Midlands West, Hereford Cathedral School) 
Nick Lilley (Exeter Chiefs, Exeter College) * 
James Linegar (Bath Rugby, Kingswood School) 
Tubuna Maka (Leicester Tigers, Brooksby College) 
Josh Mann (Exeter Chiefs, Truro College) 
Bronson Kingsley-Mellowes (Leicester Tigers, Brooksby College) 
George Pearson (Midlands Central, City of Oxford College) 
Solomon Shand (Gloucester Rugby, Hartpury College) * 
Jimmy Staples (Harlequins, Seaford College) 
Connor Treacey (Bath Rugby, Beechen Cliff) * 
Jonny Weimann (Northampton Saints, Bedford School) 
Toby Wilson (Sale Sharks, Kings Macclesfield) * 
Rafe Witheat (Northampton Saints, Stowe School) 

*denotes a player previously capped at U18 level 

England U18 Men’s 2024 U18 Festival fixtures:

  • Matchday 1 (Saturday 30 March):  England v Wales (17:45 kick-off) 
  • Matchday 2 (Wednesday 3 April): Scotland v England (13:15 kick-off) 
  • Matchday 3 (Sunday 7 April): England v Georgia (15:30 kick-off) 

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