Six Saints youngsters named in England Under-20s EPS squad

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Six Saints youngsters have been named in the 32-player England Under-20s Elite Playing Squad for the 2023/24 season.

Henry Pollock, Reuben Logan, Craig Wright, Archie McParland, Will Glister and Toby Cousins are all included.

The selection has been made earlier than in previous seasons as England Under-20s head coach Mark Mapletoft and forwards coach Andy Titterrell aim to tighten cohesion within the collective and build into the upcoming U20 Six Nations and U20 World Championships.

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Mapletoft takes charge in his first full term steering the pathways side after three years of involvement with the England U18s, as well as a decade worth of experience coaching Harlequins prior.

Archie McParland (photo by Peter Nicholls/Getty Images)Archie McParland (photo by Peter Nicholls/Getty Images)
Archie McParland (photo by Peter Nicholls/Getty Images)

Former England international and British & Irish Lions tourist Titterrell continues his pathway role into a fourth campaign, specialising in coaching the team’s pack after joining the national set-up from Wasps in 2020.

The U20 class of 2024 will prepare for another year of competitive action with camps at Browns Sports Resort, Portugal and Bisham Abbey across December and January, as well as a newly announced pair of exhibition warm-ups against Bath Rugby and Oxford University.

Mapletoft’s men take on a select XV from the Somerset outfit on January 6 at Dings Crusaders RFC (5pm GMT kick-off), while a meeting with the university side follows a week later at Oxford University (2pm GMT kick-off).

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Italy awaits in the opening meeting of the 2024 U20 Six Nations (February 2, 2024, 7.15pm GMT kick-off), with England hosting both Wales and Ireland in next year’s competition.

Ahead of the squad announcement, head coach Mark Mapletoft expressed his belief in the 32 players selected for his U20 side this season.

“Andy and I have assembled an extremely talented group to take us into this season, we have every confidence in their ability as well as their mindset as a team,” Mapletoft said.

“It’s a pleasure to be heading up the U20s side, I thoroughly enjoyed my time involved with the U18s and rest assured, I will continue to work closely with Jonathan (Pendlebury, England U18 Men’s head coach) and Will (Parkin, England U18 Men’s assistant coach) to ensure a streamlined experience for our boys in the pathway.

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“Over the next few months, we will be working towards establishing continuity within our play and link together these very special players to best represent the England shirt in 2024.”

Titterrell said: “It’s been great to work alongside Mark over the summer and the U20 World Championships were a good reflection of the hard work and dedication we’ve put in so far – he's added great value to the U20s programme.

“We have liaised closely with Premiership clubs, academies and universities following our time in South Africa as to best advise our decision to select this squad, and for that I thank them.

“As a unit, we’ll strive to maintain that intensity in our output on the training paddock and in our upcoming fixtures against Bath and Oxford University to lead into our trip to Italy in February.”

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England U20 Men’s 2023/24 Elite Playing Squad: Ollie Allan (Leicester Tigers), Joe Bailey (Exeter Chiefs), Josh Bellamy (Harlequins), Jack Bennett (Bath Rugby), Harry Browne (Harlequins), Tom Burrow (Sale Sharks), Finn Carnduff (Leicester Tigers), Zach Carr (Harlequins), Toby Cousins (Saints), Afolabi Fasogbon (Gloucester Rugby), Will Glister (Saints), James Halliwell (Bristol Bears), Kane James (Exeter Chiefs), Ioan Jones (Gloucester Rugby), Sean Kerr (Harlequins), Reuben Logan (Saints), Archie McParland (Saints), Nathan Michelow (Saracens), Cameron Miell (Leicester Tigers), Charlie Myall (Leicester Tigers), Jacob Oliver (Newcastle Falcons), Asher Opoku-Fordjour (Sale Sharks), Henry Pollock (Saints), Ben Redshaw (Newcastle Falcons), Malelili Satala-Navlivou (Leicester Tigers), Lucas Schmid (Harlequins), Billy Sela (Bath Rugby), Olamide Sodeke (Saracens), Rory Taylor (Gloucester Rugby), Ben Waghorn (Harlequins), Alex Wills (Sale Sharks), Craig Wright (Saints).

England U20 Men’s U20 Six Nations fixtures

February 2 - Italy v England - 7.15pm GMT – Venue TBC

February 9 - England v Wales - 7.15pm GMT – The Recreation Ground

February 23 - Scotland v England - 7.15pm GMT – Venue TBC

March 8 - England v Ireland - 7.15pm GMT – Venue TBC

March 15 - France v England - 8pm GMT – Venue TBC

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