Newcastle Falcons pair Josh Williams and Jamie Blamire have been named in England Under-18s' squad for their upcoming tour to South Africa.
Both players have recently signed their first full-time contracts with the Falcons and will form part of the England squad which will face France Under-18s (August 12), South Africa Schools A (August 16) and South Africa Schools (August 20) during the trip.
Lock-forward Williams is a former Billingham RFC player who has recently graduated from Hartlepool Sixth Form College, while hooker Blamire has made the move from his native Cumbria.
Rugby Football Union national academy development manager John Fletcher said: “The tour gives us an opportunity to play in the southern hemisphere in a different environment, and against a very tough opposition. It also gives this group of players an opportunity to bond, and for us to see how they adapt away from home.
“There will be different challenges as the opposition will pose different problems, our aim is to adapt and come up with the solutions to those problems. We will stick to our principles in defence and attack, and we expect the players to adapt on the field. The plan is to give the players a full tour experience, which is crucial to their development.”
The Under-18s squad will be coached by Fletcher, Peter Walton, Mark Luffman and Russell Earnshaw, and supported by Richard Hill, who mentors a number of the squad. As part of the progression through the national age grade programme Martin Haag and Rory Teague from the Under-20s management team will attend some of the tour and watch all of the games.