Mix of RFU Championship youth and experience selected to face Maori All Blacks
RFU Championship XV coach Mike Rayer has announced his squad to face the Maori All Blacks on Saturday, November 17 at Castle Park, Doncaster, kick-off 1205, live on Sky Sports HD.
Bedford Blues Head Coach and former Welsh international Rayer, alongside assistant coaches Ian Davies and Diccon Edwards, has selected a minimum of one player from each of the twelve RFU Championship teams, with Nottingham, Bedford Blues and Cornish Pirates all topping the bill with three a-piece.
The twenty-three man squad is made up entirely of English Qualified Players (EQP) and reflects the wealth of young talent on offer in the RFU Championship.
Commenting on the opportunity the RFU Championship XV game offers the players and the league as a whole, Rayer said: “I think it’s a great opportunity. Myself, Ian and Diccon have been in this division for a while now, as have a lot of the players. It’s proven as a development pathway; there are a few guys in the England squad who have passed through the RFU Championship at some stage in some form. I’m a big supporter of the RFU Championship and what it’s done for player development."
Three former England Under 20 players have been named in the squad, with Bedford’s Josh Bassett the most recent representative. The 20-year-old scored three tries for England in their successful Six Nations campaign and also travelled to South Africa to compete in the IRB Junior World Championship last June.
Leeds Carnegie pair Calum Green and Jacob Rowan also have Under 20 caps to their name with back row Rowan, 22, Carnegie’s youngest ever captain. He currently sits joint second in the RFU Championship try-scoring chart with six.
Also on six tries is Nottingham’s Rhys Crane who joins Green & White team mates Nic Rouse and Tim Streather in the RFU Championship XV.
Experience comes in the form of Cornish Pirates captain and RFU Championship stalwart Gavin Cattle who will travel up from Penzance with team mates Phil Burgess and Alan Paver.
RFU newcomers Jersey are represented in captain Nathan Hannay, who is one of three second rows selected in Rayer’s squad.
“There are some guys who have done really well in the RFU Championship and have been around this division for a number of years” commented Rayer. “It’s important that you have that blend of more experienced guys guiding the young enthusiastic players around the pitch. That’s exactly what I’m expecting of guys like Gavin Cattle, Nic Rouse and Alan Paver, who are very experienced at this level.
“There are some really exciting looking backs in the squad as well. I’m really excited by the potential centre partnership, and what we have out wide. It’s a good mix.”
Luke Baldwin (Bedford Blues)
Josh Bassett (Bedford Blues)
Gavin Cattle (Cornish Pirates)
Rhys Crane (Nottingham Rugby)
Charlie Hayter (Moseley Rugby)
Dante Mama (Doncaster Knights)
Tristan Roberts (Bristol Rugby)
Jake Sharp (Bedford Blues)
Tim Streather (Nottingham Rugby)
Jack Tovey (Bristol Rugby)
Dan Baines (Rotherham Titans)
Phil Burgess (Cornish Pirates)
Tom Davies (Doncaster Knights)
Calum Green (Leeds Carnegie)
Nathan Hannay (Jersey RFC)
Mark Irish (London Scottish)
Richard Mayhew (Newcastle Falcons)
Alan Paver (Cornish Pirates)
Ben Pienaar (Moseley Rugby)
Nic Rouse (Nottingham Rugby)
Jacob Rowan (Leeds Carnegie)
Oliver Tomaszczyk (Newcastle Falcons)
Jon Vickers (Plymouth Albion)
Head Coach: Mike Rayer (Bedford Blues)
Assistant Coaches: Ian Davies (Cornish Pirates) and Diccon Edwards (Leeds Carnegie)