From RFU Press Release -
THE England Counties selectors have named a twenty seven-strong squad for the two-match tour of Romania in June.
The squad has ten counties represented in all, and includes fifteen debutants, who will hope to make an immediate impact next week.
Players were chosen for the tour on the back of impressive displays in the recent county championships. Working with representatives from all counties, the selection committee was hard pressed to squeeze the squad down to twenty seven, due to such a high standard in this year’s competition.
Keith Laughlin of Blaydon and Northumberland has been announced as captain for the tour. Laughlin has played with England counties for a number of seasons on both spring and summer tours, playing blind-side flanker and in the second row when required. The outstanding player for Northumberland this season is rewarded with the chance to lead out the squad in June.
England Counties Team Manager Matt Long said: “Following the spring internationals which included a victory against Scotland Club XV at Fylde RFC and a hard fought win away in France, the squad are in a good place heading to Romania.
“We have a core of experienced players who know the set up well, but also with fifteen debutants coming with us we have plenty of new and exciting talent to showcase. Players have been selected from all across the country and we head to Romania very proud and confident we can perform well.”
Former Leeds and England Counties player Mark Luffman has joined the touring party as forwards coach. A highly respected player and coach, Luffman will bring a fresh approach after Steve Pope withdrew from the tour for personal reasons.
England Counties play CSM Bucuresti on Friday 05 June, and Romania A on Tuesday 09 June.
England Counties Squad:
Forwards: Matthew Beesley (Wharefdale/Cheshire), David Laverick (Hull Ionians/Yorkshire), Stephen Johnson (Hull Ionians/ Yorkshire), Craig Williams (Redruth/Cornwall), Andrew Berry (Old Albanians/Hertfordshire), Brett McNamee (Old Albanians/Hertfordshire), Samuel Wilkes (Cinderford/Gloucestershire), Ben Hilton (Launceston/Cornwall), Christopher Wearmouth (Blaydon/Durham), George Oram (Blackheath/Kent), Keith Laughlin (Blaydon/Northumberland), Gavin Jones (Blaydon/Yorkshire), Evan Stewart (Fylde/Lancashire), Harry Bate (Blaydon/Northumberland), Nyle Davidson (Caldy/Cheshire).
Backs: William Crow (Dorking/Surrey), Matthew Shepherd (Launceston /Cornwall), Alexander Gallagher (Blackheath/Kent), Sebastian Rodwell (London Irish Wild Geese/Gloucestershire), James Spiers (Old Albanians /Hertfordshire), Samuel Winter (Bishop Storford /Hertforshire), Leo Fielding (Cinderford/Gloucestershire), Albert Portsmouth (Cambridge/Eastern Counties), Nevaro Codlin (Coney Hill/ Gloucestershire), Jordan Dorrington (Fylde/Lancashire), Henry Robinson (Darlington Mowden Park / Hertfordshire), Michael Wilcox (Cinderford/Gloucestershire).