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Preview: Six Nations Under-18s Men’s Festival

Preview: Six Nations Under-18s Men’s Festival

Italy U18s Festival

Excitement is building ahead of the Six Nations Under-18s Men’s festival where rugby’s best and brightest young talents will get the chance to show what they can do while representing their country.

England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France and Italy have all named their 26-man squads for their three 70-minute matches with the action getting underway on Saturday 9 April with further games on Wednesday 13 April before it culminates on Sunday 17 April.

This will be the first Six Nations Under-18s Men’s festival since 2019 due to the pandemic but there are plenty of teenage rugby stars bidding to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Louis Rees-Zammit, Raffi Quirke and Stephen Varney – all of whom were involved three years ago.

All of the 2022 action will take place at the FFR National Centre in Marcoussis, France’s training base situated on the outskirts of Paris.

HOW IT WORKS

France were the only team to go unbeaten in 2019 and kick off the action against Ireland in the first round of fixtures with Scotland taking on Italy and England facing Wales.

Wednesday sees England face Italy with France locking horns with Scotland and Italy taking on England.

The final day’s action includes France against Wales, Ireland’s clash against Italy and an intriguing match-up between Scotland and England.

All players must have been born after January 1, 2004, to be eligible to compete which explains why some school leavers may not feature in their respective nation’s team.

THE CONTENDERS

France have had plenty of success at age group levels in the last few years with an abundance of young talent for Les Bleus to pick from by the time they get to senior level.

This year’s crop will be desperate to show what they can do as they look to make it successive festivals without defeat.

England have representatives from all Gallagher Premiership sides bar Saracens, while the Wales squad is dominated by eight Dragons players fresh from winning the Under-18 Regional Championships.

Wales coach Matt O’Brien has also included 10 new players who did not feature in the capped international defeat to England at Taunton last month, while Scotland coach Ross Miller admits it was a tough decision to cut his 39-man training squad down to 26.

Unlike some of the other nations, Ireland have exclusively selected players based in the country with Leinster, Munster and Ulster providing the entirety of the 26-man squad that is looking to pull off some impressive results.

Followers of school rugby will recognise several names in the Italy squad with City of Oxford College’s Lorenzo Casilio, Sedbergh’s Nicola Bozzo and Sam Luciano Ferrari, who studies at the Samuel Whitbread Academy, all set to take to the field.

WHAT THEY SAID

England Men U18 head coach Jonathan Pendlebury: “We were pleased with the way the team played against Wales recently and I’m sure this group will take a lot from that as they head into the first game of the festival.

“This will be a great opportunity for the group to spend ten days together, to cement relationships, learn from one another and take something from the experience that they can put into practice either back at their club or when they next meet in future England age group and representative environments and traveling or touring abroad.

“The squad is really looking forward to the festival which is able to take place for the first time since the pandemic began. Events such as these are a really important development experience for players at this age and we’re really pleased it’s able to take place again.”

Scotland Men U18 head coach Ross Miller: “To narrow the squad down to 26 players has been tough. The 39 players who were in our extended playing group put their hands up for selection and

although we couldn’t select everyone all the players have worked hard and are showing a continued appetite for self-development which is an important part of the programme.

“The standard of players we’ve been able to select from was very high. They have all come into the programme with a good all-round skill set and rugby knowledge which is testament to the development they’ve had in their club and school environments as well as the FOSROC Scottish Rugby Regional Championship series.”

Wales Men U18 head coach Matt O’Brien: “It is international rugby so we want to win games, but we are taking a fair few boys that weren’t capped in the first game against England so it is another opportunity to get a few new caps so the boys who have already had that experience can help those new boys along.

“I think the growth in the players from when they first came in has already been massive. Yes, results will be part of it but performances and the improvement of the players on and off the field will be a big thing for us as well.”

ENGLAND

Ollie Allan (London Irish, Bishop Wand School), Joe Bailey (Exeter Chiefs, Exeter College), Conor Byrne (Harlequins, Trinity College), Finn Carnduff (Leicester Tigers, Leicester Grammar School), Zach Carr (Harlequins, Dulwich College), Ethan Clarke (Harlequins, Worthing College), Luke Coulston (Newcastle Falcons, Gosforth Academy), Toby Cousins (Northampton Saints, Oakham School), Connor Cross (London Irish, Hampton School), Harvey Cuckson (Worcester Warriors, Ellesmere College), Ben Douglas (Newcastle Falcons, Gosforth Academy), Will Glister (Wasps, City of Oxford College), Arthur Green (Bath Rugby, Sherborne School), Jimmy Halliwell (Bristol Bears, Colston’s School), Ioan Jones (Gloucester Rugby, Dean Close School), George Loose (Leicester Tigers, Gresham’s School), Morgan Meredith (Leicester Tigers, Brooksby Melton College), Ben Motamed (Sale Sharks, Manchester Grammar School), Paddy Pearce (Bristol Bears, Colston’s School), Mike Rewcastle (Newcastle Falcons, Gosforth Academy), Epi Rokodrava (Wasps, City of Oxford College), Charlie Smith (Newcastle Falcons, Dame Allans), Nick Tarr (Northampton Saints, Mark Rutherford School), Rory Taylor (London Irish, Wellington College), Tristan Woodman (Sale Sharks, AKS Lytham), Craig Wright (Northampton Saints, Felsted School)

FRANCE

Zaccharie AFFANE (FC Grenoble/APER Grenoble), Léo AMETLLA (Provence Rugby/APER Aix-en-Provence), Théo ATTISSOGBE (Stade Montois), Maxence BIASOTTO (US Montauban/APER Toulouse), Hoani BOSMORIN (Stade Rochelais), Adam BOUARE (Montpellier HR), Mathis CASTRO FERREIRA (Stade Toulousain/APER Toulouse), Léo CHAUVIN (CA Bègles Bordeaux G/APER Talence), Bastien CHINARRO (USA Perpignan), Marko GAZZOTTI (FC Grenoble/APER Grenoble), Simon HUCHET (Stade Rochelais/APER La Rochelle), Lomig JOUANNY (US Montauban/APER Toulouse), Lino JULIEN (USO Nevers), Brent LIUFAU (Section Paloise/APER Pau), Yannick LODJRO (COM Bagneux/Stade Français), Barnabé MASSA (FC Grenoble/APER Grenoble), Tom RAFFY (CA Brive CL/APER Brive), Hugo REUS (CA Bègles Bordeaux G/APER Talence), Gabin ROCHER (FC Grenoble/APER Grenoble), Titoan ROUVELET (Montpellier HR/APER Montpellier), Thomas SOUVERBIE (Section Paloise/APER Pau), Karsen TALALUA (FC Grenoble/APER Grenoble), Andy TIMO (RC Massy), Emilien TREZIERES (CA Bègles Bordeaux G/APER Talence), Lucas ZAMORA (Stade Rochelais/APER La Rochelle), Noa ZINZEN (Racing Club France)

IRELAND

Sam Berman (St. Michael’s College/Leinster), Oliver Coffey (Blackrock College/Leinster), Stephen Kiely (Castletroy College/Munster), Luke Kritzinger (Blackrock College/Leinster), Harry Long (Ard Scoil Ris/Munster), Hugo McLaughlin (Gonzaga College/Leinster), Ruben Moloney (Blackrock College/Leinster), Jack Murphy (Presentation College Bray/Leinster), Sean Naughton (Kilkenny College/Leinster), Ben O’Connor (Presentation Brothers College Cork/Munster), Jake O’Riordan (St.Munchin’s College/Munster), Finn Treacy (Presentation College Bray/Leinster), Jacob Boyd (Royal Belfast Academical Institute/Ulster), Emmett Calvey (Ard Scoil Ris/Munster), Inigo Cruise O’Brien (Blackrock College/Leinster), Brian Gleeson (Rockwell College/Munster), Joe Hopes (Campbell College/Ulster), Kamil Novak (Christian Brothers College Cork/Munster), Evan O’Connell (Castletroy College/Munster), Danny Sheehan (Presentation Brothers College Cork/Munster), Jacob Sheahan (Presentation Brothers College Cork/Munster), Stephen Smyth (Kilkenny College/Leinster), Zac Solomon (Campbell College/Ulster), Andrew Sparrow (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Tom Stewart (St. Michael’s College/Leinster), Josh Stevens (Methodist College/Ulster)

ITALY

Davide Ascari (Rugby Colorno 1975), Matteo Bianco (Pol. S.S. Lazio Rugby 1927), Jacopo Botturi (Transvecta Calvisano), Nicola Bozzo (Sedbergh School), Simone Brisighella (Rugby Viadana 1970), Lorenzo Casilio (City of Oxford College, Wasps), Giovanni Cinquegrani (Benneton Rugby Treviso), Lorenzo Elettri (Verona Rugby), Sam Luciano Ferrari (Samuel Whitbread, Northampton Saints), Tommaso Ferrari (Unione Rugby Capitolina), Andrea Frattolillo (Rugby Petrarca), Marcos Francesco Gallorini (Vasari Junior Arezzo), Francesco Gandossi (Rugby Rovato), Nicholas Gasperini (Rugby Perugia), Francesco Imberti (Cus Torino), Mattia Jiminez (Rugby Petrarca), Samuele Mirenzi (VII Rugby Torini), Lorenzo Nanni (Livorno Rugby), Vittorio Padovani (Benneton Rugby Treviso), Marco Scalabrin (Benneton Rugby Treviso), Valerio Siciliano (Unione Rugby Capitolina), Tommaso Simoni (Valpolicella Rugby 197), Federico Telandro (Rugby Petrarca), Andrea Toninelli (Rugby Rovato), Giacomo Vanzella (Benneton Rugby Treviso), Cesare Zucconi (Cavalieri Union R.Prato Sesto)

SCOTLAND

Jerry Blyth-Lafferty (Firhill High School/Boroughmuir Bears), Marcus Brogan (Hawick RFC), Tom Currie (Merchiston Castle School), Robbie Deans* (Merchiston Castle School), Monroe Job (Selkirk High School/Selkirk Rugby Club), Alfie Maitland (Stewarts Melville College), Liam McConnell (Boroughmuir High School/Boroughmuir Bears), Elliot Young (Stewarts Melville College), Euan McVie (Edinburgh BATS), Ruaraidh Hart (Glasgow Academy), Ben Weir (Melrose Rugby), Bartlomiej Brylak (St Leonards Madras), Callum Smyth (Bedford School/Northampton Saints), Sam Wallace (Dollar Academy), Luke Townsend (Earlston High School/Melrose Rugby), Amena Caqusau (Queen Victoria School), Hector Patterson (Jed Thistle RFC), Andrew McLean (Robert Gordons College), Alexander Thom (Strathallan), John Ventisei (St Aloysius College), Euan Muirhead (West College / Dumfries Saints), Kerr Johnston* (Gala RFC), Murdock Lock (Wellington College/Harlequins), Finlay Thomson (Musselburgh RFC), Jack Brown (George Watsons College), Logan Jarvie (Stirling County)

WALES

Ioan Emanuel (Cardiff Rugby), Morgan Williams (Dragons), Isaac Young (Scarlets), William Rees (Scarlets), Conall Couch (Dragons), Kian Hire (Ospreys), Jonny Green (Harlequins), Lewis Marsh (Ospreys), Nicholas Thomas (Dragons), Gianluca Giannini (Scarlets), Kenzie Jenkins (Cardiff Rugby), Lucas de la Rua (Cardiff Rugby), Morgan Morse (Ospreys), Harry Beddall (Cardiff Rugby), Rhodri Lewis (Ospreys), Orson James (Cardiff Rugby), Sam Berry (Dragons), Harri Wilde (Cardiff Rugby), Walker Price (Dragons Wing), Ioan Duggan (Dragons), Harri Ackerman (Dragons), Louie Hennessey (Cardiff Rugby/Hartpury), Cameron Davies (Dragons), Gabe Lacey (Bristol Bears), Isaac Morgan (Ospreys), Huw Anderson (Dragons)

FIXTURES

Under-18s Men’s Festival fixtures – all streamed live on Six Nations Under-20s YouTube

Saturday, 9 April

Italy v Scotland (kick-off 12pm)

Wales v England (kick-off 2.20pm)

France v Ireland (kick-off 4.40pm)

Wednesday, 13 April

France v Scotland (kick-off 12pm)

Ireland v Wales (kick-off 2.20pm)

Italy v England (kick-off 4.40pm)

Sunday, 17 April

Italy v Ireland (kick-off 11.30am)

England v Scotland (kick-off 1.35pm)

France v Wales (3.40pm)