FREDDIE GABBITASS has been named as England Under 18 Clubs and Schools captain ahead of their warm up game against Worcester Warriors’ Academy Under 19 this Sunday.
The fixture, originally scheduled to be played at the Sixways Stadium, may be moved to Bromsgrove School (12 noon), a final decision will be made tomorrow.
Gabbitass will then lead the team out at Ashbourne RFC, Dublin, the following Sunday against Ireland Under 18 Clubs (April 10, 11.30).
The fly half is a member of the Bath Rugby Academy and attends Millfield School which has given rise to a host of rugby talent. Old Millfieldians recently on show include four members of the England Under 20 Grand Slam winning squad and five members of the England Sevens who were runners up in last week’s Hong Kong leg of the HSBC World Series.
Gabbitass has twice won the Rosslyn Park National Schools Sevens and was a Daily Mail Under 15 finalist. He is also not the first in his family to achieve international honours, his father represented England Schools at rugby and his mother played England basketball.
“I was honored to be named as captain of this England side and I’m really looking forward to the challenge in Ireland,” said Gabbitass.
“To be honest it hasn’t quite sunk in yet. The training camp last weekend went really well and the boys worked hard. I feel the team is really starting to bond and the new boys brought in to cover injuries should be pleased with how they performed.”
“The game on Sunday offers us a strong challenge but also an opportunity to showcase some of the hard work we have put in over the last few weekends.”
Worcester Warriors Academy forward, Damon Poole, who started for England Under 16s against Italy at the Stadio Flaminio in the 4 Nations last year, has been ruled out due to injury, as has Ben Pritchard who sustained damage to his medial collateral ligament in a routine training session at London Irish where he is an academy member.
The extent of talent in this age group is, however, demonstrated by the standard of the replacements Head Coach, Paul Mullans was able to call upon. Matthew Lamont from the Ivybridge Community College and Exeter Chiefs Academy offers an option in the back row and Tom Crozier from Colchester Royal Grammar School and Northampton Saints Academy brings depth to the pack.
“I’m really looking forward to the game on Sunday,” said Crozier. “I trained with the squad for the first time last weekend the strength of the side was immediately evident.
“I was gutted not to be picked originally but knew I had come close and remained confident so that if I got the call up I’d be ready to go.”
Joe Robinson, the Sedbergh and Newcastle Falcon’s Academy lock, deputises for Gabbitass and is one of four squad members who also represented England at Under 16.
Kieran Ball (Wellington College, Essex), Josh Pettet (Cranbrook, Sevenoaks, Kent), Hugh McBride (Bromsgrove School, North Midlands), Hugh Lockhart (Bromsgrove School, Bromsgrove, North Midlands), Ross Harrison (Lymm High School, Lymm, Cheshire), Joe Robinson (Sedbergh, Newcastle Falcons, Cumbria), Hugo Govett (Leeds Grammar School, Yorkshire), Nico Woodward (St. Peter’s, Coney Hill, Gloucestershire), Elliott Stooke (Hartpury College, Gloucestershire), Daniel Lee (Ivybridge Community College, Crediton, Devon), Matthew Lamont (Ivybridge Community College, Ivybridge, Devon), Tom Crozier (Colchester VI College, Colchester, Eastern Counties).
Tom Bowen (Sussex Downs College, Lewes, Sussex), James Crossley (Wymondham College, North Walsham, Eastern Counties), Harry Sloan (Skinners, Harlequins, Kent), Tom Harty (Epsom College, Cobham, Surrey), Joseph Bartlett (Ivybridge Community College, Taunton, Somerset), Freddie Gabbitass (Millfield, Bath Rugby, Somerset), Henry Purdy (Cokethorpe, Chipping Norton, Oxon), Jacob Wilson (Cokethorpe, Wasps, Oxon), Jamie-John Kilmartin (Millfield, Harlequins, Somerset), Henry Taylor (Cranleigh, Marlow, Bucks)