Youngsters impress England coaches as London win

PUBLISHED: 09:57 08 January 2009 | UPDATED: 13:51 06 May 2010

TWO local rugby players have been included in the England Under 18 squad to compete in this season s Six Nations tournament. Owen Farrell, son of Saracens and England international Andy, and Jake Sharp have been named in the 26 man squad that was selected

TWO local rugby players have been included in the England Under 18 squad to compete in this season's Six Nations tournament.

Owen Farrell, son of Saracens and England international Andy, and Jake Sharp have been named in the 26 man squad that was selected from the Rugby Football Union's Regional Academy system.

Inside-centre Farrell captained the England Under 16 side in last year's Four Nations tournament with England undefeated in their games, beating Wales and Italy and earning a draw against the French.

England go into the Six Nations on the back of a grand slam of wins in the European showcase competition in Cork last season but there are several new faces in the squad for the forthcoming tournament.

England kick off their season against Scotland at Kingston Park on March 22 before taking on Japan High Schools at Exeter Chiefs' Sandy Lane ground. The team then jets off to Italy to compete in the Six Nations.

l JAMIE Speirs of Harpenden Rugby Club scored the deciding try as London & South East won last weekend's Under 18 Divisional Festival with a 29-18 win over the North.

The London & South East squad contained three local players with Speirs joined by Jamie Hearn, who attends Oaklands College and is a member of the Saracens academy and Andrew Stredwick of Old Albanians.

The team's first game was against the Midlands, who they brushed aside 45-22, running in seven tries in the process. Hearn scored one of his side's tries, finishing off a lovely counter attack started by number eight Ali Bone.

London faced the North in the final on Sunday at Moseley RFC and they got off to the worst possible start, conceding a try in the first minute. London battled back to ensure a lively finish to the game and with the scores in the balance, Speirs seized his opportunity scoring with a lovely diagonal run to wrap up a 29-18 win.

The tournament was watched by the England Under 18 selectors and Hearn impressed enough to be named in a 30-man Under 18 training squad in preparation for this season's AER (Association Européenne de Rugby) tournament held in the Toulon area of France. The AER Tournament will be played from April 2 to 12 and England's opening match is against Georgia on April 5.

l FRED Gulliford is the only Hertfordshire player to be included in the London & South East Under 16 squad for this weekend's Divisional Festival at Broadstreet RFC near Coventry.

Scrum half Gulliford, who attends St George's School in Harpenden and plays for Old Albanians, impressed the selectors after a two-day development camp at St Albans School last weekend.

London & South East will take on the North Division at 2pm on Friday, and face the South West Division at 11.15am on Sunday.

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