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Mathews and Freeman called up by England U20s

Northampton Saints starlets Tommy Freeman and Tommy Mathews have been selected in England U20s’ 32-man Elite Player Squad (EPS) for 2021.

The duo were called up by head coach Alan Dickens – formerly Defence Coach at Franklin’s Gardens – for the first time at this level.

Fullback Freeman, 19, has made three senior appearances for the men in Black, Green and Gold, while 19-year-old fly-half Mathews previously represented Wales at under-18 level.

The player pathway programme is a vital development tool for future full international rugby. Of the 31 players selected in England’s 2019 Rugby World Cup squad, 81% played for England U20s, 77% for England U18s, while 87% came through a club academy.

Dickens said: “Selection for the squad has been based on a combination of things; the four previous regional games we had at St George’s Park, the work we do with the club academies and coaches, plus our knowledge of the players within the pathway.

“We can only name 32 in the EPS and there will be some disappointed players, but we have a much wider squad that we know will be involved and will contribute during the year.

“2020 has been a challenging year, but we faced that head on ensuring we had contact with players within the pathway – firstly by setting up calls between them and those in the senior England men’s squad.

“We then had mini regional camps which were something different but allowed us to get to know more of the players who were U20s eligible and we built from that into the four regional games.

“It has given me and the whole management team a much better platform to know the players better sooner and we’re really looking forward to getting back to preparations with this group.

“I’d also like to thank all the Premiership clubs, the academies, the coaches and Premiership Rugby for their support, particularly over the past year. It’s been a really collaborative effort.”

England men U20s Elite Player Squad 2021

FORWARDS
Ben Bamber (Bristol Bears)
Harvey Beaton (Saracens)
Phil Brantingham (Newcastle Falcons)
Lucas Brooke (London Irish)
Arthur Clark (Gloucester Rugby)
Jack Clement (Gloucester Rugby)
Luke Green (London Irish)
Alex Groves (Bristol Bears)
Lewis Holsey (Worcester Warriors)
Ethan Hunt (Gloucester Rugby)
Emeka Ilione (Leicester Tigers)
George Martin (Leicester Tigers)
Nahum Merigan (Bath Rugby)
Marcus Rhodes (London Irish)
Ewan Richards (Bath Rugby)
Sam Riley (Harlequins)
Ethan Staddon (Bath Rugby)
Freddie Thomas (Gloucester Rugby)

BACKS
Charlie Atkinson (Wasps)
Seb Atkinson (Worcester Warriors)
Deago Bailey (Bristol Bears)
Orlando Bailey (Bath Rugby)
Oscar Beard (Harlequins)
Joe Carpenter (Sale Sharks)
Tommy Freeman (Northampton Saints)
Will Joseph (London Irish)
Dan Lancaster (Leeds Tykes)
Tommy Mathews (Northampton Saints)
Raffi Quirke (Sale Sharks)
Tom Roebuck (Sale Sharks)
Fin Smith (Worcester Warriors)
Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers)

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