Hampshire duo see England home over France

Hampshire pair Joe Marchant and Joe Batley were integral in England Under 18s narrow 18-17 victory last weekend over France in Dunkirk - and have been named in England's squad to FIRA/AER European Championship in Poznan, Poland later this week.  Former Gosport and Fareham youngster Batley started the game while ex-Winchester youth Marchant came off the bench.

Under 18s County manager Alan Morgan, who made the trip to northern France said "both boys played well, representing their County with distinction.  Joe Batley played the whole match at 6, and worked very hard in attack and defence around the fringes, taking some fearsome hits from the big and aggressive French team.

"He was also the 'go to' man at the back of the lineout, winning more clean ball than any other English forward and he came within inches of scoring a try from a trademark burst but he was hauled down close to the line.

"Joe Marchant was on the bench but was sent on at 12 with 25 minutes to go with the match precariously poised at 13-12 to England.  He make his mark with his first touch of the game, making a clean break from the opposition 10 metre line, but he was tackled agonisingly short of the try line.  The ball was re-cycled and the try scored - which proved to be the decisive points.

"He was busy for the rest of the match in attack as England worked for the decisive score and in defence to repel a late surge by the French team which brought them to within a point with a last minute score in the corner.  Fortunately, they missed the conversion so England took the honours."

Their performance impressed sufficiently to be named as part of the squad that will play in the FIRA/AER European Championships in Poland over the next week.

They start with a match against Portugal in Plewiska on Friday 11 April (12noon) before a second match on Tuesday 15 April and a third on the following Saturday 19 April against opponents to be announced.

England have reached the final in each of the past three seasons, winning in 2012 and 2013 and coach John Fletcher has said "we come into the tournament after three good performances against Scotland, Wales and France and we are looking to playing three more matches.

"There is a lot of talent in England - the squad has some good depth and there's real quality in all areas of the park."


SQUAD LIST - Forwards
Lewis Boyce (Prince Henry's Grammar, Leeds Carnegie)
Owen Hills (Queen Elizabeth Wyggeston College, Leicester Tigers)
Ollie Adams (St Pauls Catholic College, London Irish)
James Fish (Trent College, Northampton Saints)
Jack Stanley (Truro College, Exeter Chiefs)
Josh Ibuanokpe (Dulwich College, Harlequins)
George Nott (Kings School Chester, Sale Sharks)
Stanley South (Whitgift School, Harlequins)
Huw Taylor (Old Swinford Hospital, Worcester Warriors)
Sam Underhill  (Sir Thomas Rich’s School, Gloucester Rugby)
Will Safe (Hartpury College, Gloucester Rugby)
Callum Chick (Gosforth Academy, Newcastle Falcons)
Joe Batley (Hartpury College, Gloucester Rugby)
Josh Bainbridge (Prince Henry’s Grammar, Leeds Carnegie)

Alex Mitchell (Lymm High School, Sale Sharks)
Jack Maunder (Blundells School, Exeter Chiefs)
Theo Brophy-Clews (Abingdon School, London Irish)
Kai Little (Hartpury College, Exeter Chiefs)
Harry Mallinder (Rugby School, Northampton Saints)
Rotimi Segun (Stowe School, Northampton Saints)
Lucas Slowik (Filton College, Bristol Rugby)
Ollie Thorley (Cheltenham College, Gloucester Rugby)
George Perkins (Oaklands College, Saracens)
Taylor Prell (Giggleswick School, Leeds Carnegie)
Joe Marchant (Peter Symonds, Harlequins)
Charlie Thacker (Leicester Grammar, Leicester Tigers)

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