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Home > News > England incentive for Midlands Under 20 finalists
Your News England incentive for Midlands Under 20 finalists

COMPETITION for places in the Midlands Under 20s squad will give added spice to the National Under 20 Championship Midlands final between holders Notts, Lincs and Derbyshire and Leicestershire at Broadstreet RFC near Coventry on Wednesday March 16 (7.30pm).

The provisional squad picked by the Midlands Under 20s selectors last week is comprised mostly of players from the two finalists and Wednesday’s match will go a long way to deciding who starts against the North at Morley on April 2.

That match will form an important stage in the selection process for the newly-formed England Counties Under 20s side who will play their inaugural international against Scotland Under 20s at West Park Leeds on April 6.

The creation of the England Counties Under 20s, which will be managed by Malcolm Ross, the RFU Council Member for Leicestershire, has given added incentive to players appearing in this season’s National Under 20 Championship.

“Having an England Counties Under 20s side has definitely encouraged a lot more players to want to play for us this year,” said Leicestershire assistant coach Dave Bonser.

“They want to get it into the Midlands Under 20s squad and having the chance to play for England is an added carrot for them.”

With no quarter-final stage in this season’s National Under 20 Championship only the winners of Wednesday’s final will progress to the national semi-finals.

“It’s a big match in a couple of ways,” said NLD team manager John Delaney. “As holders we would like to retain our title having won it for the first time last year.

“With only the winners going through to the national semi-finals it’s a knockout game for both sides.

“But it’s also, in effect, a final trial for a lot of the players. In many cases it will be a shoot-out to decide who gets a place in the final Midlands squad against the North next month.”

NLD will give a late fitness test to Nuneaton lock Liam Mathers who has yet to play for them this season because of a rib cartilage injury.

Mathers, who moved from Derby earlier in the season, played for Midlands Under 20s last season but needs to face Leicestershire if he is going to retain his divisional place.

But NLD will be without Hull centre Jack Bradford who is travelling in Australia.

Leicestershire expect to be able to name their starting XV from the squad that disposed of East Midlands in their final group match two weeks ago.

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