Cornwall U18 player Aaron Simmonds (Penryn RFC & Truro College) has been selected as part of the 23-man England Counties U18 squad who will face Ireland Clubs XV during two fixtures in April.
Aaron was one of four players who were selected to attend the South West U18 Divisional Final Assessment Day following two strong performances by Cornwall U18 in the South West U18 Championship. The four travelled to Hartpury College for the finals assessment day where they joined players from the other seven counties that make up the England Counties South West Division (Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset & Wilts, Gloucestershire,Oxfordshire, Somerset). With Mares suffering a recurring hamstring injury early on in the assessment day he was unfortunately the one Cornwall player not to make the cut from 37 to 25.
The 25-man South West U18 squad then faced a very strong Gloucester Rugby U17 Academy side. This is a traditional fixture for the South West U18 and the time the premiership academy players seen together often shows in the result on the day, this season wasn't to be any different but the performance of the South West players after only a couple of training sessions was hugely promising. After the game the squad was to be cut from 25 to 23 and this would be the final squad to represent the South West in the National Divisional Weekend where they faced the Midland U18 & North U18. Simmonds, Austin & Nottle all made the cut to make the final 23.
With the South West putting in two very strong performances over the weekend but ultimately losing in very close competition, it was always going to be difficult to have South West players make the 23-man squad that would represent England Counties U18 for 2018.
With Austin & Nottle failing to make the final 23, Simmonds is one of only four South West Players who will pull on the England shirt this year.
England Counties U18 will play a fixture against Ealing Trailfinders academy in a warm up for the two main fixtures where they will face a strong Ireland clubs XV on 4th & 7th April in Portsmouth.
This is the second years in succession where Cornwall U18 group have had representation in the England Counties U18 squad as Simmonds follows in the footsteps of St Ives RFC & Penwith College player Jake Clemson played for his country last season.
All involved in Cornwall U17 & U18 Group would like to congratulate Aaron on his inclusion in the squad and wish him all the best for the upcoming games
Below is the final 23-man England Counties U18 Squad