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England Rugby to host U18 Six Nations Festivals with matches at Kingsholm

England Rugby to host U18 Six Nations Festivals with matches at Kingsholm
England is to host the 2019 U18 Six Nations Festival (11-21 April). The festival which is participated in by all six unions sees each nation play three fixtures over 10 days, with matchday three’s fixtures set to take place at Kingsholm Stadium.

The teams will be hosted by Hartpury University and Hartpury College, with fixtures across three venues - Hartpury Stadium, Sixways Stadium and Kingsholm Stadium.

England will face Wales on Saturday 13 April, before matches against Ireland (Wednesday 17 April) and France (Sunday, 21 April).

Players, coaches and management will also have access to a range of off-field experiences and development opportunities in between match activity during the 10 days.

England U18s are led by pathway performance coach Jim Mallinder and he is joined by consultant coaches Jonathan Fisher, Mark Luffman and Sean Marsden for the season.

The festival structure will be overseen by the Rugby Football Union’s head of regional academies Don Barrell.

Jim Mallinder said:

“Over the course of the festival we want players to enjoy themselves and have fun, to understand the way that England want to play and understand what they need to do in terms of being an international player both on and off the pitch to progress through the pathway.”

“For the players it’s also the chance to experience what it is like to play several international fixtures in a tournament setting. Some of the fixtures at this level see the players usually come together for two or three days so this is an opportunity for them to develop as a squad, form relationships and experience what it is to be an international rugby player.

“We’ve seen these players slowly come through the pathway, some of the group have been out with us in South Africa, there will be some younger players in there as well and we’ve got an opportunity over 10 days to work with them, to get to know them a little bit better and to see them play in three international fixtures.

RFU head of regional academies Don Barrell said:

“The Six Nations festival is a coming together of the six nations U18s teams where rather than playing an international tournament of five fixtures, they come together and play three games so it acts more as a festival in the sense there is no league table or overall winner.

“There are playing opportunities interspersed with development events and chances to mix and learn with other people.

“The purpose of the festival has to be looked at in the context of a rugby player’s journey. The festival is another step in a player’s development journey and for us it serves two purposes. The first is to provide playing opportunities but more than that, there is a chance for them to spend time with players from different clubs within their own squad and learn how they see the world and operate. Also it’s a hugely-exciting opportunity to spend time with players from other countries, to interact and develop off the pitch which will ultimately serve them well for a career in the game and afterwards.

“One of the really exciting activities is that the players will be doing a peer review, so they will play a match and will the following day sit down with their opposition number to review the game. They will get the chance to question the opposition on what they were trying to do and how they were being perceived to help them explore how they would do things differently. This is a truly unique opportunity to get detailed feedback from someone in their position in an opposing international team.”

Festival fixtures

Matchday one - Saturday 13 April

KO       Gillman’s Ground, Gloucester

12:00    England v Wales          

14:30    Ireland v France

17:00    Scotland v Italy

Matchday two - Wednesday 17 April

KO       Sixways Stadium, Worcester

11:00    France v Italy

13:30    Ireland v England

16:00    Wales v Scotland

Matchday three - Sunday 21 April

KO       Kingsholm Stadium, Gloucester

11:00    Scotland v Ireland

13.30    England v France

16:00    Italy v Wales


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