Counties Under 20s refine selection process ahead of Scotland game
England Counties Under 20s head for Scotland tomorrow (Tuesday, May 1, 2012) confident that an all-embracing final trial weekend makes them exceptionally well prepared for the three-day Edinburgh training camp that precedes their game against Scotland Under 20s at St Andrew’s University on Friday night (May 4, 6.30pm).
They are heading North with a clean bill of health, which is always a bonus, but they are also buoyed by the fact that this season’s recent Divisional Trials at Welbeck Defence Sixth Form College brought a completely new dimension to the selection process that left selectors, coaches and players significantly better equipped.
Supplementing the inter-divisional game time was a programme of specialist coaching sessions and presentations from referees, disciplinary officials and medical experts and an inter-action between everyone present that contributed to an enrichment process for all concerned.
“I think the Welbeck weekend was excellent.” said Gary Henderson, RFU Head of Coach & Player Development: “The facilities were first-class, the Divisional sides were very well coached and there were opportunities for the players to receive additional coaching from their Divisional people and also from the people of the calibre of Pete Anglesea and Simon Middleton.
“There was a good relationship established between the Divisional coaching teams and the National coaching team and I think the players were given a real opportunity. Certainly the game between the Midlands and the North was one of the best games at this level I’ve seen for years.
“We saw much more of the players than previously and in different circumstances. We saw them both in a playing and training environments and we saw how they coped with different types of coaching.
“There was a real opportunity for players to showcase themselves and for everyone to become closely wedded to the principle of supporting a County Championship and also the Divisional and England teams.”
England Counties Head Under 20s Coach Bob Hood endorsed the view. “The weekend was really successful in bringing all the coaching staffs, the selectors and nearly 100 players together and to see them working together towards this national project. That was the idea and we got a really good response.
“The England Counties Under 20 journey started last year and we have improved massively since then. The Welbeck weekend was designed for players, coaches and selectors and I believe selection has been a lot more accurate as a result.
“The players will also be more familiar with each other and we’ve also stepped up their involvement by asking them to use social media sites to do some analysis work and personal profiling before we meet on Tuesday. I’m pleased with the way things have gone and I believe we’ve got quite an exciting squad together for the Scotland game.”
England Counties Under 20s
Forwards: Adam Tamanis (Doncaster Phoenix, Yorkshire & North), Mike Flook (Kingswood, Somerset & South West), George Richardson (Syston, Leicestershire & Midlands), Sam Steventon (Oxford Harlequins, Oxfordshire & South West), Nico Woodward (Cinderford, Gloucestershire & South West), Josh Woods (Sedgley Park, Lancashire & North), Ben West (Cinderford, Gloucestershire & South West), Piers Phillips (Darlington Mowden Park, Yorkshire & North), Harris Cassons (Hartpury College, Gloucestershire & South West), Ben Morris (Blaydon, Yorkshire & North), Ben Vernon (Tarleton, Lancashire & North) Dan Lee (Barnstaple, Devon & South West), Sam Heygate (Loughborough Students, East Midlands & Midlands).
Backs: Ross Kevan (Old Northamptons, East Midlands & Midlands), Joe Rowntree (Harrogate, Yorkshire & North), James Stokes (Leicester Lions, Notts, Lincs & Derby & Midlands), Huw Morgan (Chinnor, East Midlands & Midlands), Heath Stevens (Coventry, East Midlands & Midlands), Joe Martin (Hull, Yorkshire & North), Jack Hayes (Hartpury College, Gloucestershire & South West), Jim Wigglesworth (Hull, Notts, Lincs & Derby & Midlands), De La Rey Veenendal (Cambridge, East Midlands & Midlands), Luke Daniels (Esher, Surrey & London & SE).