Four members of the Tigers Academy’s title-winning squad have been called up to an England Under-18s development camp later this week.
The Cubs retained their Academy League title for an unprecedented third season with a 22-all draw against London Irish last Sunday.
And now England U18s head coach Jonathan Pendlebury has included four Tigers in a 46-player squad for a development camp at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre between this Thursday, February 20 and Sunday, February 23.
Front-rower Jack Rowntree – son of Leicester, England and British & Irish Lions prop Graham – earns a first call-up at this level, alongside club colleagues Emeka Ilione and Kit Smith plus Academy co-captain Archie Vanes.
Tigers hooker Vanes and back-rowers Ilione and Smith toured South Africa at the start of this season as part of England U18s’ summer development tour.
The age-grade side will play two standalone fixtures, against Scotland at Hawick RFC (Sunday, March 15, 2.00pm), and France in Bourges (Sunday, March 22, 4.00pm) before April’s Six Nations Festival in France.
The U18s Six Nations Festival is competed by England, France, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Italy with each nation playing three fixtures over two weeks.
The squad are led by new head coach Jonathan Pendlebury, who is assisted by Darlington Mowden Park coach Mark Luffman (forwards) and Harlequins academy coach Mark Mapletoft (backs) for the season.
Pendlebury said: “My first priority is to get to know these players as well as I can. The players are the pathway.
“As a pathway management team we want to support the players in their development towards being full-time senior academy players and future internationals as well as help them fulfil their potential as senior players in the game.
“The sessions will be a step up from the last 10 weeks of U18s academy league fixtures that they have participated in. I expect the players to ‘explore boundaries’ which could be a way of playing or executing a skill or tactic and look to learn something from each session and particularly each game that may support their progression in the game.
“I just can’t wait to start working with this group through the spring and across the five competitive weekends this group will have together.”
Fin Baxter – Harlequins (Wellington College)
Corey Bowker – Sale Sharks (Kirkham Grammar)
Phil Brantingham – Newcastle Falcons (RGS Newcastle)
Arthur Clark – Gloucester Rugby (Hartpury College)
Joe Elsworth – Exeter Chiefs (Exeter College)
Jack Forsythe – Worcester Warriors (Warwick School)
Ben Grubb – Exeter Chiefs (Truro College)
Tarek Haffar – London Irish (St Pauls College)
Emeka Ilione – Leicester Tigers (Rugby School)
Obinna Nkwocha – Saracens (Felsted School)
Ethan Pearce-Cowley – Exeter Chiefs Truro College
Ewan Richards – Bath Rugby (Millfield School)
Charlie Rice – Bristol Bears (SGS College Filton)
Marcus Rhodes – London Irish (Wellington College)
Jack Rowntree – Leicester Tigers (Leicester Grammar School)
Ethan Staddon – Bath Rugby (Beechen Cliff School)
John Stewart – Bath Rugby (Beechen Cliff School)
Tristan Smith – Saracens (Felsted School)
Kit Smith – Leicester Tigers (Oakham School)
George Taylor – Bristol Bears (Bristol Grammar School)
Freddie Thomas – Gloucester Rugby (Dean Close School)
Will Trenholm – Harlequins (Cranleigh School)
Andrew Turner – Bristol Bears (SGS College Filton)
Joe Vajner – London Irish (Whitgift School)
Archie Vanes – Leicester Tigers (Brooksby Melton College)
Owen Vassello – Newcastle Falcons (Durham School)
Charlie Atkinson – Wasps (Abingdon School)
Seb Atkinson – Worcester Warriors (Bromsgrove School)
Deago Bailey – Bristol Bears (SGS Filton)
Orlando Bailey – Bath Rugby (Beechen Cliff School)
Oscar Beard – Harlequins (Cranleigh School)
Jamie Benson – Harlequins (Hampton School)
Sam Bryan – Saracens (Felsted School)
Cassius Cleaves – Harlequins (Wellington College)
Ethan Grayson – Northampton Saints (Northampton School for Boys)
Olly Hartley – Wasps (Whitgift School)
Louis Hillman-Cooper – Gloucester Rugby (Cheltenham College)
Brandon Jackson – Saracens (Sutton Valence School)
Matty Jones – Gloucester Rugby (Dean Close School)
Will Joseph – London Irish (Millfield School)
Dani Long-Martinez – Northampton Saints (Norwich School)
Rory Morgan – London Irish (St Pauls College)
Finlay Smith – Worcester Warriors (Warwick School)
Matthew Ward – Newcastle Falcons (Gosforth Academy)
TJ Wilstead – Bristol Bears (Colston's School)
Ollie Wynn – Worcester Warriors (Bromsgrove School)
Additional Wider Squad Attendees
Tumy Onasanya – Sale Sharks (Pendleton Sixth Form College)
Nonso Agina – Sale Sharks
Harry Hocking – Exeter Chiefs (Truro College)
Ned Hawker – Yorkshire Carnegie (Woodhouse Grove)
Daniel Eckersley – Wasps (Bloxham School)
Nye Thomas – Sale Sharks (Liverpool College)