England Counties announce squad for tour of Spain

England Counties team manager Matt Long has announced a squad of 26 players for the side’s two-match tour of Spain.

The squad, set to depart on Monday following the culmination of the Bill Beaumont County Championships, will play Euskarians in San Sebastian on Wednesday, 31 May before playing a Spain XV on Saturday, 3 June.

The squad includes players from 15 different counties, with 10 players returning from the team’s spring internationals and 16 new players called in.

Blaydon’s Keith Laughlin will once again captain the side who last year went unbeaten on a tour of Canada.

Counties are also unbeaten so far in 2017 having recorded wins over Scotland Club XV and Ireland Club XV, running out 45-28 and 34-26 winners respectively.

“We’ve worked hard with representatives from each of the counties to select the side and the process has run very smoothly,” said Long.

“I’m expecting a physical tour. Given we wanted a full Test against the international side, I think we’ll get one.

“We’ve done a bit of research, and we know Spain are improving, their world ranking is proof of that. We’re going to have a hard test.”

England Counties is the flagship team of the community game in England and offers players from National League One and below the opportunity to represent their country.      

England Counties squad            

Hayden King (LH) (Old Albanians and Hertfordshire)                                                  
Tom Mantell (LH) (Maccesfield and Cheshire)                                            
Alex Giltrow (TH) (Clifton and Somerset)                                
Matt Collins (TH) (Ampthill and East Midlands)                                      
Neil Sweeney (Esher and Surrey)                                                                 
Fran Entressangle (Huddersfield and Yorkshire)                                   
Nile Dacres (Coventr and North Midlands)                
Joe Makin (Hull Ionians and Yorkshire)                                     
Robert Birtwell (Sedgley Park and Lancashire)                                                    
Keith Laughlin (Blaydon and Northumberland)  - Captain                         
Ed Milne (Rosslyn Park and Surrey)                                  
Harry Bate (Old Albanians and Hertordshire)                                                                
Jack Preece (Coventry and Gloucestershire)                                
Tom Baldwin (Blackheath and Kent)                                                               

Pete White (Coventry and East Midlands)                                      
Dave Brazier (Coventry and North Midlands)                                         
Jack Lavin (Caldy and Cheshire)                                                
Rhys Hayes (Caldy and Cheshire)                                             
Tom Wheatcroft (Coventry and Leicestershire)                             
Albert Portsmouth (Cambridge and Eastern Counties)                              
Robin Wedlake (Plymouth and Cornwall)                                              
Sam Baker (Ampthill and East Midlands)                                      
James Stokes (Coventry and Warwickshire)                                           
Peter Swatkins (Sheffield Tigers and Yorkshire)                                     
Matthew Shepherd (Plymouth and Cornwall)                                                 
Max Trimble (Coventry and Warwickshire)