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Topic ClosedEngland Counties for East Africa

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ruckinred View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: England Counties for East Africa
    Posted: 16 May 2012 at 14:01
Three North Midlands players have been included in the England Counties squad for next month's tour to East Africa.

Moseley flanker Ben Pons and Luctonians fly-half Will Burton are among 12 newcomers in the 26-strong squad. Moseley prop Craig Voisey, who has toured with the Counties XV before, is also in the squad for the three match tour.

All three have been selected after impressing for North Midlands in this season's County Championship Bill Beaumont Cup competition.

Yorkshire's Rob Baldwin will captain the tour party, having led the side to a 34-16 victory over the Counties' Irish counterparts, the Ulster Bank International Team, in March. Nine other players featured in the spring international, whilst Jim Wigglesworth steps up after impressing for the England Counties U20s earlier this month.



The England Counties squad is the representative flagship of the county and community game and since being founded in 2002 has visited North and South America, Europe and the Far East. Nine players have previous touring experience but the side will be treading new ground when they head to the African continent.

The squad assembles on June 1 and the 17-day tour incorporates the largest tour outreach programme ever undertaken. Working with the Tag Rugby Trust, the squad and management will carry out frequent coaching sessions and visits, aiming to raise the profile of rugby and leave a lasting legacy for the host unions.

The squad plays both Uganda and a combined East Africa side in Kampala before taking on the challenge of an East Africa Invitation XV in Nairobi.

Team Manager Michael Old said: "Selection has been particularly tough this year as the quality of players making themselves available for the County Championship continues to improve but we are very pleased with the final line up.

"Squad flexibility was a key consideration particularly in the specialist roles of prop, hooker and scrum half. In the event of injury or illness we will not be able to fly replacements out so it was important to have experience across positions: props Jared Saunders and David Dickinson have played at hooker whilst hooker, Joe Bonner can switch to prop, and Jack Smales, a wing/full back, has played regularly at scrum half.

"I would like to offer my congratulations to the players on their selection and as with all ECXV tours it is hugely exciting to get a new group of players together to see what they can produce on the pitch; I would expect this squad to continue England Counties proud tour record and recent run of victories.

"The Ugandan and Kenyan Rugby Unions are looking forward to the prospect of having an England team on their soil. During a recent visit, we saw the pace, skill and commitment of the countries' players and they will be highly motivated to perform against us.

"The squad will be faced with playing challenges very different to their club and county games and the unpredictability of the opposition is one of the most exciting elements of touring for both players and coaches. During the recce we also visited some of the schools and orphanages that we are going to be working with, together with the Tag Rugby Trust charity, and I am confident it will be a very rewarding and humbling experience for all involved as we make a positive impact on our East African hosts both on and off the pitch."

England Counties Squad for Kenya and Uganda:

Forwards
Rob Baldwin*^ (Wharfedale & Yorkshire)
Joe Bonner (Blackheath & Kent)
Richard Boyle^(Newcastle Falcons & Northumberland)
James Cleverly (Blackheath & Kent)
David Dickinson* (Tynedale & Northumberland)
Billy Johnson (Unattached & Hertfordshire)
James Lindfield (Westcombe Park & Kent)
Dave Marwick (Stockport & Cheshire)
Louis McGowan*^ (Sedgley Park & Lancashire)
Ben Pons (Moseley & North Midlands)
Gareth Rawlings (Fylde & Lancashire)
Jared Saunders (Saracens & Hertfordshire)
Craig Voisey^ (Moseley & North Midlands)
Sam Wilkes* (Cinderford & Gloucestershire)

Backs
Chris Briers*^ (Fylde & Lancashire)
Will Burton (Luctonians & North Midlandss)
Phil Chesters* (Ealing & Devon)
Steve Hamilton^ (Unattached & Yorkshire)
Peter Hodgkinson*^ (Ealing & Cheshire)
Toby Howley-Berridge (Unattached & Eastern Counties)
Stefan Liebenberg* (Bedford & Hertfordshire)
Harry Peck*^ (Tynedale & Northumberland)
Jack Smales^ (Nevers & Northumberland)
Rory Teague (Cinderford & Gloucestershire)
Tom Wheatcroft* (Ealing & Warwickshire)
Jim Wigglesworth (Hull & Yorkshire)

Denotes
* Represented England Counties in Spring Internationals
^ Represented England Counties on previous Tour.

Stand by players to be called upon in the event of injury before departure:
Rob Schillachi^ (Hertford & Hertfordshire); Jamie Salter (Launceton & Cornwall); Chris Wearmouth*(Blaydon & Durham); Gavin Jones (Blaydon & Yorkshire); Philip Woodhead* (Wharfedale & Yorkshire); Tyson Lewis (Plymouth & Devon)

Match schedule
Game 1: v Uganda in Kampala - Tuesday 5th June
Game 2: v East Africa in Kampala - Saturday 9th June
Game 3: v East Africa Invitation XV - Saturday 16th June

Ends

Paul Bolton

North Midlands RFU Communications Officer

07966 102 495





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HandsintheRuck View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2012 at 16:06
Where did that come from? Not seen anything in the press or on RFU website.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2012 at 16:22
I've seen a tweet from the guy who writes about rugby for the Evening Chronicle in Newcastle, but of course it only refers to the 4 Northumberland guys.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2012 at 16:44
On the North Midlands RFU site




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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2012 at 16:50
T'is now on RFU site too!

Press release here
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2012 at 17:42
fantastic to see Jim Wigglesworth on the tour, Nottingham Academy player getting game time at Hull, also a Midland and England Counties u20 this season. 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2012 at 18:08
Unbelievable that not one Cornwall player is in it.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2012 at 18:30
Originally posted by Remmers Remmers wrote:

Unbelievable that not one Cornwall player is in it.

I wouldn't go quite that far, a lot of Cornish candidates have received the honour before, the above list shows that players do get selected from season to season, but this is more of an exception than the rule. Also, it is possible that players were asked but couldn't make it due to work commitments. That said, none of the starting Cornish back row would look out of place on that list, Sam Hocking in particular, but maybe Albion wouldn't be that keen on him going.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 May 2012 at 08:40
Originally posted by RedOrDead RedOrDead wrote:

Originally posted by Remmers Remmers wrote:

Unbelievable that not one Cornwall player is in it.

I wouldn't go quite that far, a lot of Cornish candidates have received the honour before, the above list shows that players do get selected from season to season, but this is more of an exception than the rule. Also, it is possible that players were asked but couldn't make it due to work commitments. That said, none of the starting Cornish back row would look out of place on that list, Sam Hocking in particular, but maybe Albion wouldn't be that keen on him going.

I would imagine pressure of work is a significant factor these days for a lot of players.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 May 2012 at 08:56
Im sure some clubs are not to keen on their players going away for a few weeks before pre season starts especially after playing in county championship meaning they have not had a rest period. Plus i don't know what happens if a player gets a long term injury and who covers it. 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 May 2012 at 11:08
Originally posted by in-the-know in-the-know wrote:

fantastic to see Jim Wigglesworth on the tour, Nottingham Academy player getting game time at Hull, also a Midland and England Counties u20 this season. 
 
Has been virtually unplayable at times this season, the hard gounds in Africa should be ideal for him too
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 May 2012 at 12:46
Originally posted by HandsintheRuck HandsintheRuck wrote:

T'is now on RFU site too!
 
Congratulations to YHITR Clap - and everyone of course
"My father told me big men fall just as quick as little ones, if you put a sword through their hearts."
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 May 2012 at 07:12
I note there's no one from Jersey in the squad, despite them being the stand out team n NAT 1.  Daft question perhaps, but are they not eligible?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 May 2012 at 07:37
They don't play in county championship! 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 May 2012 at 09:22
Jersey born players are eligible for any of the 4 home nations by virtue of the odd status of the Channel Islands. So not really surprising that their players aren't considered by England Counties.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2012 at 11:02

After watching the Kent V Somerset game yesterday I am absolutely amazed that James Cleverly and Joe Bonner (both Blackheath rfc) have both made the England counties squad.

 

I guess the counties selectors dont see being able to scummage as a prioity for front row players as the Kent pack were pushed around the park at will at every scrum by Somerset.

 

Really can’t see how they have made the cut or is it a case of who you know and not what you know as the Blackheath coach is on the selection panel for England counties. Wink

 

If anyone else saw this game I would be very interested in your opinion.

 

As someone else said I think the Cornwall front five can feel very hard done by as well as the Somerset pack………  

 

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2012 at 11:51
Yes there were one or two choice comments about selection at Camborne yesterday! 




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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2012 at 12:55
Originally posted by Hexhamshire Lad Hexhamshire Lad wrote:

Jersey born players are eligible for any of the 4 home nations by virtue of the odd status of the Channel Islands. So not really surprising that their players aren't considered by England Counties.
from what I recall I think Jersey asked for their players not to be considered for counties
If you're not living on the edge you're taking up too much room
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2012 at 14:44
Rugby Mad - if you decide to single out two players out of a pack for criticism, based on your personal view (second post), bit poor to do so anonymously.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 May 2012 at 08:36
The post is only my personal view and aimed to strike up a debate on this FORUM.
I had to single out the two players as that was the point of the post. Whether being able to scrummage isnt as important as overall ability................... and also whether there is a conflict of interest in their club coach picking them for the England counties tour. If the Kent scrum would have dominated Devon and Somerset I wouldn't have a case.
 
To help back up my view even the Kent captain Tom Stradwick (Blackheath rfc, Lock) said in his post match meal speech that "the Somerset pack taught us a lesson today".
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