Falcons trio named in England U18s squad

Tuesday 18 February 2020

Newcastle Falcons have a trio of players named for this week’s England Under-18s’ development camp.

The 46-man group will convene at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre from Thursday until Sunday, with Falcons players Phil Brantingham, Matthew Ward and Owen Vassallo all called up.

Prop Brantingham (RGS Newcastle) and winger Ward (Gosforth Academy) have already toured with England Under-18s last summer, with Durham School No 8 Vassallo joining them in preparation for a pair of upcoming fixtures.

Those games are against Scotland in Hawick on Sunday March 15 (2pm) and against France in Bourges on Sunday March 22 (3pm UK time, 4pm local), leading into April’s Six Nations Festival in France which sees each nation playing three fixtures over two weeks.

The squad are led by new head coach Jonathan Pendlebury, who is assisted by Darlington Mowden Park coach Mark Luffman (forwards) and Harlequins academy coach Mark Mapletoft (backs) for the season.

Players have been selected by pathway staff based on their performances in the U18 academy league, as well as school competitions and also in consultation with academy managers from the 14 regional academies.

The camp will also allow coaches to discuss playing principles and themes with the squad ahead of the two standalone fixtures, as well as the U18 Six Nations Festival. Players will be encouraged to explore the boundaries of their game during training.

Pendlebury said: "My first priority is to get to know these players as well as I can. The players are the pathway.

"As a pathway management team we want to support the players in their development towards being full time senior academy players and future internationals as well as help them fulfil their potential as senior players in the game.

"The sessions will be a step up from the last 10 weeks of U18 academy league fixtures that they have participated in. I expect the players to ‘explore boundaries’ which could be a way of playing or executing a skill or tactic and look to learn something from each session and particularly each game that may support their progression in the game.

"We will explore different themes in attack, defence and transition and how we execute or look to utilise these will be a main theme for the U18 group going forwards.

"Mark Luffman will continue a role he has had within the age group squads. He is an excellent front-row specialist coach and has helped the development of several Premiership and current international players.

"To be able to draw on the coaching expertise of Mark Mapletoft is also incredibly valuable. He knows what the game looks like at the top level through his work at Harlequins, as well as his previous work with past age group squads, the U20s and now more closely with Harlequins senior and junior academy players.

"I just can’t wait to start working with this group through the spring and across the five competitive weekends this group will have together."

England men U18s squad for February development camp


Fin Baxter - Harlequins (Wellington College)

Corey Bowker - Sale Sharks (Kirkham Grammar)

Phil Brantingham - Newcastle Falcons (RGS Newcastle)

Arthur Clark - Gloucester Rugby (Hartpury College)

Joe Elsworth - Exeter Chiefs (Exeter College)

Jack Forsythe - Worcester Warriors (Warwick School)

Ben Grubb - Exeter Chiefs (Truro College)

Tarek Haffar - London Irish (St Pauls College)

Emeka Ilione - Leicester Tigers (Rugby School)

Obinna Nkwocha - Saracens (Felsted School)

Ethan Pearce-Cowley - Exeter Chiefs (Truro College)

Ewan Richards - Bath Rugby (Millfield School)

Charlie Rice - Bristol Bears (SGS College Filton)

Marcus Rhodes - London Irish (Wellington College)

Jack Rowntree - Leicester Tigers (Leicester Grammar School)

Ethan Staddon - Bath Rugby (Beechen Cliff School)

John Stewart - Bath Rugby (Beechen Cliff School)

Tristan Smith - Saracens (Felsted School)

Kit Smith - Leicester Tigers (Oakham School)

George Taylor - Bristol Bears (Bristol Grammar School)

Freddie Thomas - Gloucester Rugby (Dean Close School)

Will Trenholm - Harlequins (Cranleigh School)

Andrew Turner - Bristol Bears (SGS College Filton)

Joe Vajner - London Irish (Whitgift School)

Archie Vanes - Leicester Tigers (Brooksby Melton College)

Owen Vassallo – Newcastle Falcons (Durham School)


Charlie Atkinson - Wasps (Abingdon School)

Seb Atkinson - Worcester Warriors (Bromsgrove School)

Deago Bailey - Bristol Bears (SGS Filton)

Orlando Bailey - Bath Rugby (Beechen Cliff School)

Oscar Beard - Harlequins (Cranleigh School)

Jamie Benson – Harlequins (Hampton School)

Sam Bryan - Saracens (Felsted School)

Cassius Cleaves - Harlequins (Wellington College)

Ethan Grayson - Northampton Saints (Northampton School for Boys)

Olly Hartley - Wasps (Whitgift School)

Louis Hillman-Cooper - Gloucester Rugby (Cheltenham College)

Brandon Jackson - Saracens (Sutton Valence School)

Matty Jones - Gloucester Rugby (Dean Close School)

Will Joseph - London Irish (Millfield School)

Dani Long-Martinez - Northampton Saints (Norwich School)

Rory Morgan - London Irish (St Pauls College)

Finlay Smith - Worcester Warriors (Warwick School)

Matthew Ward - Newcastle Falcons (Gosforth Academy)

TJ Wilstead - Bristol Bears (Colston's School)

Ollie Wynn - Worcester Warriors (Bromsgrove School)

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