- Representative side to play two matches against Russia U20s
- 23 players will be selected to take part in the tour
The England Counties U20 team will tour Russia this summer playing two matches against the Russia U20 side.
England Counties U20 is a representative team of the Community Game in England and offers players who take part in the National U20 County Championship the chance to represent their country.
The team will play their first match on Sunday, 5 June in Moscow with the second match confirmed for Wednesday, 8 June.
The tour will follow a series of divisional matches and training days in May from which the squad of 23 players will be selected.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for our players and exemplifies the purpose of the Counties programme,” said team manager Peter Vernon.
“The squad will be selected from the 26 counties that play in both tiers of the National U20s County Championship. A group of selectors will watch every county at least once to give all players a good chance."
During the tour the team will take part in outreach projects in Moscow as part of the Rugby Football Union’s Unity Project which aims to support the development of rugby union across Europe.
“We are guaranteed a tough couple of matches,” said Vernon. “We know the Russian team will be physical and the challenge for us will be to bring the group of players together and make them gel. I’m confident we can go there and win as we have the structure and personnel to do so.”
As well as giving those from National League Two and below the chance to represent their country, being selected for the England Counties U20 team can also elevate players to a higher level.
Vernon cites Wasps and England player Joe Launchbury as an example of a player who went through the Counties pathway before going on to play professional rugby.
“Joe was part of the squad when the team travelled to Toulon when he was 18 and is proof that representing a Counties team can help develop players,” said Vernon.
With the National U20 County Championship now underway, selection for the summer tour has begun and Vernon says he is looking forward to bringing together the final 23: “The cap presentation is a moment to treasure every year.
"To wear the white shirt is a special moment and you can see how proud the players are.”