Bath Rugby's Kieran Verden and Tom de Glanville have been named in the England U18 squad for their three-three match tour of South Africa in August.
Verden, who recently signed a long-term contract with the Club, captained the Academy during the 2016-17 season and will be looking to make his mark on the international stage.
de Glanville, who is the son of Bath legend Phil, has shown his undoubted ability in the Blue, Black and White with some impressive displays from fly-half for the Academy over the last 12 months.
England face South Africa Schools in their opening fixture on Friday 11 August in Cape Town before a match against Wales four days later. Fletcher’s side then finish their campaign against France on Saturday 19 August in Stellenbosch.
England will be boosted by the experience of forwards Ted Hill, Sam Moore and Tom Willis - all three featured in last year’s tour to South Africa. Hill and Harlequins fly-half Marcus Smith both also received England U20 caps in this year’s Six Nations.
Coached by John Fletcher, Russell Earnshaw, Mark Luffman and Peter Walton, England U18 have enjoyed an impressive season so far, most recently winning all of their games in April’s International Series in Wales.
England U18 head coach John Fletcher said: “The tour is a fantastic opportunity for these players to play in the southern hemisphere in a challenging environment. On the field, I want to see us improve in each game, we are in our off season and lots of the boys will not have had much rugby so it will take a little bit of time to get them back up to speed.
“We’ve chosen a strong, talented group and we will only focus on ourselves, the skills and principles that we think are important for this age group within our pathway. We’re really looking forward to spending time with the players; it’s important for us coaches to get to know them both on and off the field.”
The tour plays a pivotal role in their development through the national age grade programme with three players (Joe Cokanasiga, Ben Curry and Tom Curry) from last year’s group named in the England senior squad for the series against Argentina in June.
In addition, 11 of last year’s squad progressed to feature in the 2017 World Rugby U20 Championship in Georgia which saw England reach the final.
England U18 squad for 2017 tour to South Africa:
Josh Basham (London Irish, Wellington College)
Will Capon (Bristol Rugby, Bristol Grammar School)
Richard Capstick (Exeter Chiefs, Exeter College)
Beck Cutting (Worcester Warriors, Bromsgrove School)
James Dun (Bristol Rugby, Millfield School)
George Head (Harlequins, Tonbridge School)
Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers, Wyggeston & QEI College)
Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors, Worcester College)
Aaron Hinkley (Gloucester Rugby, St Peter’s High School)
Sam Moore (Sale Sharks, Sedbergh School)
Nick Rigby (Worcester Warriors, Warwick School)
James Scott (Worcester Warriors, Malvern College)
Kieran Verden (Bath Rugby, Beechen Cliff School)
Tom Willis (Wasps, The Henley College)
Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints, Bedford School)
Ollie Fox (Yorkshire Carnegie , New College Pontefract)
Tom de Glanville (Bath Rugby, Beechen Cliff School)
Ollie Hassell-Collins (London Irish, St Paul’s School)
Cadan Murley (Harlequins, Bishop Wordsworth's School)
Will Porter (Wasps, Merchant Taylors' School)
Cameron Redpath (Sale Sharks, Sedbergh School)
Arron Reed (Sale Sharks, Kirkham Grammar School)
Tom Seabrook (Gloucester Rugby, Dean Close School)
Marcus Smith (Harlequins, Brighton College)
Sam Spink (Wasps, Wellington College)
Kieran Wilkinson (Sale Sharks, Kirkham Grammar School)
Friday 11 August: England U18 v South Africa Schools - City Park Stadium, Athlone
Tuesday 14 August: England U18 v Wales U18 - Paarl Gymnasium, Paarl
Saturday 19 August: England U18 v France U18 - Paul Roos, Stellenbosch
Image courtesy of Anthony Gilbert.