Five Falcons in England U20s Elite Player Squad

Tuesday 04 January 2022 Written by: Adam

The 32-man group sees call-ups for (pictured left to right) prop Mark Dormer, hooker Ollie Fletcher, fly-half Louie Johnson, flanker Guy Pepper and winger Iwan Stephens.

Falcons academy manager Mark Laycock said: “We are all really pleased as a club that the lads have gained recognition for their talent and efforts.

“All five of them have very different back stories and have worked extremely hard to get to this point. The great thing is they are all exceptionally mature young men, so none of them are getting carried away, and they all understand that getting a foot in the door is only the beginning of the hard work ahead.

“Special shout-out has to go to Iwan Stephens who played his first proper game of rugby union less than 10 months ago having crossed codes from Leeds Rhinos rugby league, and has made excellent progress, scoring on his Gallagher Premiership debut against Harlequins earlier this season.

“It goes to show that there are transferable skills in sport provided you keep your options open long enough, which is why we advocate kids playing lots of different sports.”

Laycock added: “The most players we have had in an England Under-20s EPS squad before this was four, and that was back when Will Welch was involved.

“Add to this Matt Deehan, who is attending the Scotland Under-20s camp this week, and all the lads involved in the England Under-18s squad from across our region, and it’s hard not to see a bright future for rugby in the North East and Cumbria. These lads are the role models for the next generation.”

England Under-20s head coach Alan Dickens said: “Selection for the squad has been based on a combination of things – the previous regional camps we’ve held, the work we do with the club academies and coaches, plus our knowledge of the players within the pathway.

“The communication and collaboration throughout the pathway are excellent and it’s ensuring we identify talented players and get out to see them play early.

“I’d like to thank all the Premiership clubs, the academies, the coaches and Premiership Rugby for their support. It’s been a big team effort.

“The squad and coaching team are looking forward to two four-day camps and a training game against Oxford University in the first half of January, which is all part of our preparation for the Six Nations and our first game against Scotland.”

**England U20s Elite Player Squad – 2022**

**Forwards:** Fin Baxter (Harlequins), Alfie Bell (Wasps), Lucas Brooke (London Irish), Kofi Cripps (Wasps), Mark Dormer (Newcastle), Ollie Fletcher (Newcastle), Robin Hardwick (Wasps), Will Hobson (Harlequins), Emeka Ilione (Leicester), Geordie Irvine (Northampton), Tom Lockett (Northampton), Toby Knight (Saracens), Guy Pepper (Newcastle), Charlie Rice (Bristol), Ewan Richards (Bath), John Stewart (Bath), Mike Summerfield (London Irish), Alex Wardell (Saracens).

**Backs:** Henry Arundell (London Irish), Seb Atkinson (Worcester), Deago Bailey (Bristol), Jamie Benson (Harlequins), Tom Carr-Smith (Bath), Ethan Grayson (Northampton), Olly Hartley (Wasps), George Hendy (Northampton), Matty Jones (Gloucester), Louie Johnson (Newcastle), Will Joseph (London Irish), Tom Litchfield (Northampton), Fin Smith (Worcester), Iwan Stephens (Newcastle).