England U20 men's head coach Alan Dickens has named his 32-man Elite Player Squad (EPS) for 2021.
Six players included in the squad have been capped previously at U20 level: Harvey Beaton, Jack Clement, Luke Green, Sam Riley, Tom Roebuck and Jack van Poortvliet.
The player pathway programme is a vital development tool for future full international rugby. Of the 31 players selected in England’s 2019 Rugby World Cup squad, 81% played for England U20s, 77% for England U18s, while 87% came through a club academy.
Dickens has been joined in the England U20s coaching set up by Andy Titterrell as forwards coach, following previous experience with Wasps where he became part of the coaching team in 2014 after his playing retirement. Titterrell was also forwards coach for England Saxons on their successful tour of South Africa in 2016.
Titterrell’s playing career reached its peak with a call-up for the 2005 British & Irish Lions. In addition to being part of Sale’s 2006 Premiership title win, the former hooker’s club career took in stints with Gloucester, Leeds Carnegie and Edinburgh, while he was capped five times by England.
“Selection for the squad has been based on a combination of things,” explained Dickens. “The four previous regional games we had at St George’s Park, the work we do with the club academies and coaches, plus our knowledge of the players within the pathway. We can only name 32 in the EPS and there will be some disappointed players, but we have a much wider squad that we know will be involved and will contribute during the year.
“It’s great to have Andy Titterrell join the U20s coaching team. He has a wealth of experience from playing and coaching, having represented England and been on a Lions tour during his playing days. I worked with him previously on the 2016 Saxons tour to South Africa and know he’s going to be a valuable member of the U20s management group.
“2020 was a challenging year, but we faced that head on ensuring we had contact with players within the pathway – firstly by setting up calls between them and those in the senior England men’s squad. We then had mini regional camps which were something different but allowed us to get to know more of the players who were U20s eligible and we built from that into the four regional games. It has given me and the whole management team a much better platform to know the players better sooner and we’re really looking forward to getting back to preparations with this group.
“I’d also like to thank all the Premiership clubs, the academies, the coaches and Premiership Rugby for their support, particularly over the past year. It’s been a really collaborative effort.”
ENGLAND U20 EPS - 2021
Ben Bamber (Bristol Bears)
Harvey Beaton (Saracens)
Phil Brantingham (Newcastle Falcons)
Lucas Brooke (London Irish)
Arthur Clark (Gloucester Rugby)
Jack Clement (Gloucester Rugby)
Luke Green (London Irish)
Alex Groves (Bristol Bears)
Lewis Holsey (Worcester Warriors)
Ethan Hunt (Gloucester Rugby)
Emeka Ilione (Leicester Tigers)
George Martin (Leicester Tigers)
Nahum Merigan (Bath Rugby)
Marcus Rhodes (London Irish)
Ewan Richards (Bath Rugby)
Sam Riley (Harlequins)
Ethan Staddon (Bath Rugby)
Freddie Thomas (Gloucester Rugby)
Charlie Atkinson (Wasps)
Seb Atkinson (Worcester Warriors)
Deago Bailey (Bristol Bears)
Orlando Bailey (Bath Rugby)
Oscar Beard (Harlequins)
Joe Carpenter (Sale Sharks)
Tommy Freeman (Northampton Saints)
Will Joseph (London Irish)
Dan Lancaster (Leeds Tykes)
Tommy Mathews (Northampton Saints)
Raffi Quirke (Sale Sharks)
Tom Roebuck (Sale Sharks)
Fin Smith (Worcester Warriors)
Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers)