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Home > News > South West U18 look to defend unbeaten run
Your News South West U18 look to defend unbeaten run

The South West U18 squad are in action next/this weekend (Feb18-20) when they face two games in three days as part of the RFUs annual Divisional U18 Festival at Broadstreet RFC, Coventry.

The South West tackle the Midlands at 2pm on Friday (Feb 18) and then have an 11am kick-off against the North on Sunday (20th) as this seasons squad look to protect their predecessors unbeaten record during the 2009/10 campaign.

From these matches, plus two featuring the London Division against the North and Midlands, the England U18 squad will be selected for the following Sundays (Feb 27) international against Italy U18 at Sale RFC, 1pm kick-off.

Gloucestershire lock Will Graulich will lead the South West side this weekend while taking the helm as head coach for the first time this season, after four years in charge of the forwards, is Bristol based Alan Nash

He says: Wills man management skills out in Spain last December, when we got this seasons squad together for the first time, were excellent and, overall, we feel that, perhaps, were even a little bit of a stronger squad than last season.

In Spain we beat a regional side 134-0 and, although it was a bit too easy, we did play very well.

Weve also played the London & South East a couple of weeks ago which was a good trial game and a good run-out that we also won, 27-5.

One important difference to the Festival this season is that the size of squads has been reduced from 25 to 23, putting pressure on certain positions within the South West ranks.

Weve had to cut the squad by two players this season and thats made it very difficult, admits Nash. Its hard on replacements for both the second-row and centres and it also means that a couple of lads have been very unfortunate to miss out.

While Nash and new Cornish assistant coach Marek Churcher team up together for the first time theres also a fresh face overseeing the South West U18s progress this season in Berkshire based Simon Edwards, the new Chairman of the South West U18 Group.

I would suggest that we are confident, but the biggest task will be to beat the North as they, apparently, are very strong, he sums up.

However, I think we are stronger squad ourselves than last season and we were unbeaten then.

The England U18 selectors, led by head coach John Fletcher, will be out in force over this weekend when, once again, the South West should be well represented when the England U18 side to take on Italy is finally announced.

South West U18 v Midlands: JJ Kilmartin (Somerset); Alley Johnson (Oxfordshire), Henry Purdy (Oxfordshire), David Massey (Oxfordshire), Jake Wilson (Oxfordshire); Freddie Gabbitas (Somerset), Joe Bartlett (Somerset); Tom Dunn (Dorset & Wilts), Nico Woodward (Gloucestershire), Sam Lewis (Somerset); Elliott Stooke (Gloucestershire), Will Graulich (Gloucestershire - c); Dan Lee (Devon), Matt Lamont (Devon), Ben Pritchard (Berkshire). Reps - Ryan Dingle (Cornwall), Rory Paxton (Oxfordshire), Graham Glew (Cornwall), Ian Willis (Berkshire), James Dobree-Carey (Oxfordshire), Henry Taylor (Buckinghamshire), Nick Taylor (Oxfordshire), Aron Struminski (Cornwall).

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