England Age Group Recognition For Falcons Academy Players

Friday 24 October 2014

Four members of the Newcastle Falcons academy have today been announced in the Under 17 and Under 18 England squads underlining the positive work done to produce the club’s players of the future.

Centre Ben Stevenson, who plays his rugby with Yarm School and Middlesbrough RFC will line up as part of the Under 17 squad while in the Under 18s, Sedbergh fullback Jonny McPhillips, Gosforth Academy duo Callum Chick (Ponteland RFC) and Joe Craggs (Mowden Park RFC) are the Falcons representatives in John Fletcher and Peter Walton’s side.

Both squads have an October half term camp in Leeds where they will meet up with their team mates for the first time and where academy strength and conditioning coach Grant Beasley will be working alongside the players, before another camp in December.

Following a further camp in February, the under 17s will play against France while the under 18’s will enter into the FIRA European Championships, the age group’s equivalent of the RBS 6 Nations.

Academy Manager Mark Laycock said: “It’s great for our boys to be getting recognition and I’m delighted for all four of them.”

“In the Under 17s, we have Ben, who is very much following in the footsteps of Zach Kibirige, coming through via Yarm School and Middlesbrough and who has a lot of natural ability, he works hard, played very well for us in the pre-season festivals and fully deserves his call up.”

“In the Under 18s we have fullback Jonny McPhillips, who is our youngest ever academy intake after he joined at 11 years old. He’s been playing really well for the school and is a player who is very good with the ball in hand and taking people on.”

“We then have a pair of back rowers in Callum Chick and Joe Craggs. Both are part of our AASE scheme at Gosforth Academy and has been very impressive as he has come through the Northumberland pathway while Joe has really come on strong in the last six months, scoring a try on his A League debut against Sale in September and being a really positive role model for some of the other guys.”

The call ups for Stevenson, McPhilips, Chick and Craggs caps an impressive few weeks for the academy, coming on the back of Will Witty’s call up to the England Under 20s and of the senior debuts of Witty, Chris Harris and Tom Penny in the European Rugby Challenge Cup win over Bucharest.

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