Three players from this season's Cornwall U18 squad have made the final cut to be part of the 23-man South West Division U18 squad for 2018. The boys are part of a succesful Cornwall U18 squad that lost only one fixture this season which was against an Exeter Chiefs Outreach U19 squad. At a county level they had victories against Devon, Oxfordshire and Somerset.
This year saw four Cornwall players selected to attend the South West Final Assessment Day (FAD) which was held at Hartpury College on 21st Jan. The FAD saw 37 players selected from the eight counties that make up the England Counties SW Division (Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset & Wilts, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Somerset). The fourth player selected for the FAD was Josh Mares (Newquay RFC) who unfortunatley suffered a hamstring injury very early in the assessment day and didn't make the cut from 37 to 25.
The 25-man SW U18 squad then played a fixture against a strong well organised Gloucester Rugby U17 Academy. The SW lost narrowly to the premiership academy side but it gave the divisional players an insight to the level required to play at this level.
The squad was then cut from 25 to 23 and this makes up the final squad that will represent the SW in the divisional weekend which is being held at Stourbridge over the weekend of 23rd - 25th Feb. Here the players will be competeing against players from all over the country, with the ultimate aim of being selected to represent England Counties at U18 level.
The CRFU U17 & U18 group management hope to make it two years in succession that a player from the squad has pulled on a "red rose" shirt for their country after St Ives player Jake Clemson represented his country last season.
'All three boys played really well at the final selection day and represented the County with Pride' said Dave Saunter Chairman of Youth and Education for CRFU, adding ' the boys follow in a long line of successful players who have come through this system for Cornwall. Their school and club coaches should be very proud of their involvement in the boys’ development.'
At the time of writing Saunter was also really pleased to announce the Coaching team for the U17s/18's programme for the next 12 months. Paul Duval is remaining in place as Team Manager and the rest of the coaching team Head Coach Andy Hawkin, Forwards coach Mark Pullen and backs coach Phil Stansfield are all keen to continue.
‘This is great news for the county as the guys really know the system and how to prepare the players for this route.’
Finally, Keith Lean and Saunter will continue in their positions as South West Selectors.
From all involved in Cornish rugby, we wish the boys all the luck and would like to congratulate all four players who made it through to the FAD.
Left to Right: Aaron Simmonds, Michael Austin, Fraser Nottle