England pick four of the district's rugby starlets
PUBLISHED: 10:44 15 October 2016 | UPDATED: 10:44 15 October 2016
PA/Press Association Images
Four young rugby players with connections to the district have been selected in the England U20 elite player squad (EPS).
Harpenden’s Ralph Adams Hale, St Albans’ Nick Isiekwe and Old Albanian’s Ali Crossdale are included in the 32-strong squad as is former OA star Max Malins.
England U20s won the World Championship in Manchester this summer and coach Martin Haag has named 10 of that side, including Malins, who will be looking to defend that title in Georgia next year.
On top of that Adams-Hale is one of four more players who have all experienced U20 rugby this year.
The squad will come together for the first time and train at Loughborough University starting next week.
The development of players through the age groups relies on strong relationships with the regional academies and clubs.
Most recently, U20 graduates Joe Marchant and Will Evans were named in Eddie Jones’ EPS ahead of the upcoming Old Mutual Wealth Series at Twickenham.
Haag said: “We have picked a strong squad with a lot of experience and it’s an exciting time because every year will bring new opportunities for different players to impress at this level.
“Players like Joe Marchant and Will Evans should be the example of what this group can achieve and while we are proud of our recent record in major tournaments, this is the start of a new rugby journey with this talented group of players.
“This is the start of the development phase with a real focus on getting to know the players and giving them the opportunity to develop and adapt their skills.
“We have seen a large number of these players grow through the pathway and for us it’s about challenging and inspiring these guys to be the best they can individually and as a team.”
32-man elite player squad:
1.Ralph Adams-Hale (Saracens)
2.Sam Aspland-Robinson (Harlequins)
3.Jamie Blamire (Newcastle Falcons)
4.Theo Brophy Clews (London Irish)
5.Will Butler (Worcester Warriors)
6.Charlie Capps (Yorkshire Carnegie)
7.Josh Caulfield (Exeter Chiefs)
8.Justin Clegg (Worcester Warriors)
9.Joe Cokanasiga (London Irish)
10.Ali Crossdale (Saracens)
11.Ben Curry (Sale Sharks)
12.Tom Curry (Sale Sharks)
13.Ollie Dawe (Bristol Rugby)
14.Ben Earl (Saracens)
15.Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors)
16.Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins)
17.Nick Isiekwe (Saracens)
18.Ciaran Knight (Gloucester Rugby)
19.Curtis Langdon (Sale Sharks)
20.Max Malins (Saracens)
21.Jack Maunder (Exeter Chiefs)
22.Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby)
23.Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints)
24.Joseph Morris (Worcester Warriors)
25.Joe Mullis (Gloucester Rugby)
26.Jack Nay (Saracens)
27.Paolo Odogwu (Sale Sharks)
28.Harry Randall (Gloucester Rugby)
29.Jamie Shillcock (Worcester Warriors)
30.Jacob Umaga (Wasps)
31.Max Wright (Yorkshire Carnegie)
32.Zac Xiourouppa (Worcester Warriors)