24 August 2011, 6:10pm
Congratulations to Bath Rugby Academy flanker, Will Skuse, who has been selected in the England Under 20s Elite Player Squad.
The 32 man squad will compete in the Under 20 6 Nations in the New Year, before heading to South Africa for the IRB Junior World Championship next June.
Hunter, assisted by newly appointed former Bedford Blues coach Nick Walshe, can call on 11 players previously capped at this level, eight of whom played in the 2011 Junior World Championship final against New Zealand in Italy. Last season's squad also enjoyed a 6 Nations Grand Slam triumph, scoring 30 tries in their five games, amassing a total of 221 points.
Since the formation of the England U20 side in 2007 – replacing the England U21 team – they boast an enviable four-year record. In the 40 matches played the squad have won 32 and lost just eight, a win percentage of 80 per cent. The U20s have won two 6 Nations Grand Slams, (2008, 2011) and have been runners up in the Junior World Championship on three occasions, falling short against New Zealand each time.
Speaking about his current crop of youngsters, Hunter said: "We're delighted with the players in our latest squad. We welcome 12 players who played at Under 18 level last season, some of whom have just returned from beating Australia in their own back yard, and we welcome back 11 who played for us last time round. It's an experienced group, but also an exciting, skilful and powerful group. Competition for places will be high, but that's just what you want."
RFU Head of Elite Player Development Stuart Lancaster added: "We think this is a very strong squad with competition for places in each position and it reflects really well on all the work the regional academies are doing.
"A lot of these players have come through our age group international programme and have recently been on the successful tour to Australia. We feel that this group combined with the players who represented the 20s in last year's programme and others who are starting to push through reflects how well the development pathway is working."
"The goal is to develop players for the England senior side as several have done recently, but also the goal is also to win the Junior World Championship and having close with last year's squad we feel that this squad has the potential to do that."
England U20 Elite Player Squad 2011/12
Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs)*
Nick Auterac (Saracens)
Alec Hepburn (London Wasps)
Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins)
Nathan Morris (London Wasps)
Scott Spurling (Saracens)
Koree Britton (Gloucester Rugby)*
Sam Twomey (Harlequins)*
George Merrick (Harlequins)
Tom Price (Leicester Tigers)
Dom Barrow (Leeds Carnegie)
Ben Nutley (Northampton Saints)
Chris Walker (Leeds Carnegie)
Matt Kvesic (Worcester Warriors)*
Billy Vunipola (London Wasps)
Will Skuse (Bath Rugby)
Jack Clifford (Harlequins)
Dan Robson (Gloucester Rugby)*
Alex Day (Northampton Saints)
Ben Spencer (Saracens)
Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
George Ford (Leicester Tigers)*
Ryan Mills (Gloucester Rugby)*
Sam Hill (Exeter Chiefs)
Elliot Daly (London Wasps)*
Jamie Elliott (Northampton Saints)*
Mark Jennings (Sale Sharks)
Marland Yarde (London Irish)*
Charlie Walker (Harlequins)
Will Addison (Sale Sharks)
Ben Ransom (Saracens)*
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs)
* Capped by England at U20 level last season