Old Albanian called up for England Counties

OLD ALBANIAN Nick Foster has been selected to represent England Counties U20 against a Georgia Select U20s at the Shevardeni High Performance Centre, Tbilisi.

All players will have a minimum of 40 minutes game time and two equally strong sides will start both halves to aid selection for the test match against Georgia U20s on Saturday evening.

Head coach, Bob Hood said: “We are looking forward to playing a powerful and physical game at a high tempo. Our planned approach and structure aims to maximise the strengths of our squad. We are excited to see the players realise their potential tonight ahead of Saturday’s fixture.”

Two late changes were made ahead of departure with Johnny Matthews and Ben Rath coming into the squad in place of Nico Woodward (Cinderford RFC, Gloucestershire) and Mike Stanway (Unattached, Eastern Counties) who were both declared unfit. Rath starts on the wing and Otley hooker Matthews on the bench.

Lock Josh Pettet (Sevenoaks RFC) who has previous international honours with England U18 Clubs and Schools is named as captain.

The 25-man squad arrived in Georgia in the early hours of Monday morning and have been training at the Avchala Rugby Stadium.

Team manager Malcolm Ross said: “We have had a brilliant few days in Tbilisi and are grateful for the excellent hospitality from the Georgian Rugby Union and the local community. The training facilities have been first class and we are looking forward to two highly competitive games.”