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Home > News > South West U20s gear-up for final Group matches of this years National U20 Championship
Your News South West U20s gear-up for final Group matches of this years National U20 Championship

The South West’s National U20 Championship unbeaten Group B leaders Gloucestershire are certainly not taking visitors Cornwall lightly as they complete their Group fixtures at Lydney RFC this Sunday (Mar.20), kick-off 2.30pm.

Despite looking to be odds-on favourites to retain the South West title and continue their Group B domination, that’s earned them a regular trip to Twickenham in recent years, they were out training together on their weekend off last Sunday.

What’s more the forwards even did a second gruelling session to ensure everything was right for this coming Sunday.

“We certainly don’t think Sunday’s match is a formality and there’s too much at stake to take it lightly,” states new team manager Bob Ward firmly. “It’s a job we’ve got to do and everybody is very professional about it.”

What’s more Gloucestershire, still smarting from losing their U20 crown to Yorkshire at Twickenham last year, will be even stronger this weekend with the return of three key players, UWE Bristol flanker Liam Wilkinson, Cheltenham fly half Mike Willcox and Southend scrum-half Sam Arnett.

They’ll also be hoping wings Spencer Sutherland and Pierre Tucker can replicate their performance in the last game against Somerset when Sutherland touched down five tries and Tucker four.

Cornwall arrive still smarting from their second round, 33-13, defeat at the hands of fierce rivals Devon and showing several enforced changes.

Injuries mean a complete re-shuffle to the back line with Redruth’s Tom Notman moving to full back and Camborne’s Richard Kevern coming in to the centre to team up with the returning Romey Vassell who missed the last game.

They’ll also be without injured lock Ben Kemp so Wadebridge’s Jack Scott starts alongside Mark Grubb while, in the back row, Bude’s Joe Wilson takes over from another injured player, Adam Lewarne.

“I don’t think we’ve been weakened by the changes,” says team manager Mike Larkins. “Let’s face it, we’ve got nothing to lose, and, as long as they play to the best of their ability, that’s all we can ask.

“The boys certainly seem keen and those players that are injured are travelling on the team bus, so I’m really pleased with the team spirit.”


Beleaguered Somerset U20s, who lost their coach just weeks before the tournament started and who have lost both their previous matches, entertain Devon at Wellington RFC in their final South West Group B match.

As team manager Nigel Foster says: “This season has been one of a missed opportunity, with a squad of players denied the window to train or play together, we then thrust them into a fiercely contested championship.

“The teams we have played have been well drilled and had the luxury of training sessions and warm up games, this is not an excuse on our part but proves to be a major factor in any teams overall performance. The scores however have not reflected the teams overall performance.

“This season’s team has been a very young squad with the majority coming from the Under 18’s none of which looked out of there comfort zone playing against older players, we are extremely proud of the whole squad’s resolute determination.

“Looking forward we currently have a strong squad of U17’s, the first season ever where we have had to have two teams due to the amount of players of a very good standard and quality.

“The U17’s along with our current U18’s will be the core of the U20’s for the next two to three seasons.

“With existing coaches, management team, and the programme we propose to implement by the end of the season we look forward to becoming a much stronger, prepared squad.”

Devon arrive on the back of a satisfying, 33-13, winning performance against Cornwall and have certainly not given up on the title just yet.

“We are not taking the Somerset game lightly and we will be fielding our strongest side as we still have an outside chance if Cornwall can beat Gloucestershire on Sunday,” says team manager Gareth Jones.

And, as he further says, there’s a possible added bonus for his squad to put in a rousing performance this weekend.

“We will also be looking for any possible players who we may select for the Senior Devon County Championship side which starts on March, 27th, with the Tamar Cup match against Cornwall,” he explains.

Team line-ups:-

Gloucestershire U20:- Chris Surman (Loughborough Uni.); Pierre Tucker (Dings Crusaders), Sheldon Stevens (Dings Crusaders), Brett Turner (Lydney), Spencer Sutherland (UWE, Bristol); Mike Wilcox (Cheltenham) (c), Sam Arnott (Southend); Alex Fox (UWE Hartpury), Tom Emery (Lydney), Tom Harrison (Hartpury); Harry Hone (Avonmouth Old Boys), Matt Dew (Old Redcliffians); Kurt Brown (Berry Hill), Liam Wilkinson (UWE Bristol), Ben Sparks (Stourbridge). Reps:- Bryce White (Old Patesians), Callum Stonier (University of Gloucestershire), Chris Harrington (Royal Ag. Coll, Cirencester), Lewis Moult (University of Gloucestershire), Matt Belbin (UWE Hartpury), Matt Lane (Cleve), Sam Harrison (UWE Hartpury). Travelling reserves – Ali Crombie (UWE Hartpury), George Thomas (Clifton), Fraser Barrett (UWE, Bristol), Jack O’Connell (Lydney), Joe Freeman (Cinderford), Josh Stevens (Old Patesians).

Cornwall U20:- Tom Notman (Redruth); Sam Rhodes (St. Austell), Richard Kevern (Camborne), Romey Vassell (Nottingham Uni.), Gavin Laycock (Penryn); Arron Penberthy (Redruth), Luke Ashbridge (Truro); Matt Williams (Penryn), Ben Gregor Redruth), Peter Jenkin (Redruth); Mark Grubb (Wadebridge), Jack Scott (Wadebridge); James Goldsworthy (Camborne), Jordan Rose (Penryn – c), Joe Wilson (Bude). Reps – Will Webster (Camborne), Ben Teasdale (Hartpury Coll.), Tom Hancock (Truro College), Matt Stephens (Falmouth), Tian Peacock (Falmouth), Josh Taylor (Wadebridge), Kyle Moyle (St.Ives).

Devon U20 from:- Tom Channon (Newton Abbot), Chey Bryce (Taunton/Plymouth Albion), Paul Creek (Plymouth/ Tavistock), Stuart Persey (Cullompton), Jacques Corteez (Exeter Uni.), Jack Flanagan (Barnstaple), Matt Bohl (Exeter Uni.), Fraisier Bashford (Exeter Uni.), Alex Jeffery (Plymouth/Newton Abbot), Rob Avery-Wright (Launceston), Rob Hockeday (Exeter Uni.), Alex Goldman (Crediton), Johnny Carter (Barnstaple), Olly Mulberry (Plymouth), Matt Garner (Exmouth), Sam Bennett (Devonport Services), George Snell (Bideford), Liam Boyd (Brixham), Winston James (Barnstaple), Cam Setter (Ivybridge College), Richard Friend (Okehampton), Kade Dillon (Plymouth Albion), Toby Williamson (Hartpury College), Sandie Brown (Newton Abbot).

Somerset U20:- Ben Bolster (Keynsham);James Hurrell-Smith (Keynsham), Conor Hartley (Bath Youth),Mathew Fairless (Keynsham), Kerran Beavis (Keynsham); Brad Barns (Oldfield OBs), Edward Robinson (Bath Youth); Sean Heggerty (Hornets), Joe Pullen (Castle Cary), Chris Wake (Castle Cary); Oliver Jones (Clevedon), Rob Thompson (Bridgwater & Albion); Rob Burnell (Bridgwater & Albion), Sam Russell (Bridgwater & Albion), Ciaran Moore (M/S/Norton). Reps: Ashley Foster (Keynsham), Sam Butler (North Petherton), Tom Wain (Clevedon), Arthur Taylor (Frome), Myles Skinner (North Petherton), Richard Johnson (Castle Cary), Dave Wheatley (Wells).

National U20 Final – May 14th, Twickenham

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