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Home > News > England player with foot in both camps
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Your News England player with foot in both camps
08
APR

KIERAN BALL knows what kind of test England Under 18s Clubs and Schools can expect when they take on Ireland this Sunday because last year he was pulling on the green jersey.

The prop from Essex qualifies to represent Ireland because his grandmother is Irish and by playing for the Exiles he progressed through the selection process.

Kieran played three warm up fixtures with the Ireland age grade team before reaching the final of the FIRA AER tournament where they were defeated by France.

Ireland have a good running game and move the ball well, said Kieran. I know four of the boys who are playing for Ireland Under18 Clubs again this season and they seem confident that they can beat us at the weekend but Ive told them they are wrong!

The Irish have had more training time than us but the quality of the coaching we are receiving is excellent. I can see how much I have developed as a player even in the limited time we have had available.

If both teams previous fixtures are anything to go by, Sundays clash could be an exciting game of attacking rugby. Ireland Under 18 Clubs beat Germany Under 18s 54-0 while England still scored five tries despite going down 58-33 to a very physical Worcester Warriors Academy Under 19s last weekend.

The warm up match was the first time the England team had played together and the conditioned game of four quarters allowed the coaches to experiment with different combinations.

We can take confidence from our performance, said Kieran. Our defence was weak but it is always difficult when you are in a team who have never played before. We conceded 17 points in the first quarter but by the second and the third quarters we were already making progress and really developed within the game.

When you win, there is always the danger of complacency but the loss has given us complete determination to go forward. There is a lot of talent in the team and it is an amazing opportunity to be alongside such exciting players.

Kieran won his first cap for England at Under16 but there was no aspirational Under 18 team last season so the Clubs and Schools team was introduced. It gives players the experience of representative rugby while keeping them on the selectors radar as they continue to pursue academic commitments.

Kieran attends Wellington College and his immediate ambition is to go to Cambridge University and play in the annual Varsity Match held at Twickenham.

My studies are a little bit on the back burner at the moment, admits Kieran. But rugby comes first for me and if we win against Ireland it will all be worth it.

I know I was fortunate to be able to play for Ireland last year. But if I ever had to choose it would be the rose every time. To pull on an England shirt is an incredible honour.

The coaches will name Sundays starting line up after the team have trained at the Surrey Sports Park this afternoon.

They then fly to Dublin on Saturday ready to take on Ireland Under 18 Clubs at Ashbourne RFC (April 10, 11.30.)

England Under 18 Clubs and Schools Squad:

Forwards:

Kieran Ball (Wellington College), Tom Crozier (Colchester RFC, Colchester VI College), Hugo Govett (Leeds Grammar School), Ross Harrison (Lymm RFC, Lymm High School), Matthew Lamont (Exeter Chiefs, Ivybridge Community College), Daniel Lee (Exeter Chiefs, Ivybridge Community College), Hugh Lockhart (Bromsgrove RFC, Bromsgrove School), Hugh McBride (Bromsgrove School), Josh Pettet (Sevenoaks RFC, Cranbrook School), Joe Robinson (Newcastle Falcons, Sedbergh School), Elliott Stooke (Hartpury College), Nico Woodward (Coney Hill RFC, St. Peters Gloucester)

Backs:

Joseph Bartlett (Taunton RFC, Ivybridge Community College), Tom Bowen (Lewes RFC, Sussex Downs College), James Crossley (North Walsham RFC, Wymondham College), Freddie Gabbitass (Bath Rugby, Millfield School), Tom Harty (Cobham RFC, Epsom College), Jamie-John Kilmartin (Bath Rugby, Millfield School), Henry Purdy (London Wasps, Cokethorpe School), Harry Sloan (Harlequins, Skinners School), Henry Taylor (Harlequins, Cranleigh School), Jacob Wilson (London Wasps, Cokethorpe School)

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