Suffolk teens eye up national glory

THERE will be a big Suffolk presence in an Eastern Counties squad who for the first time in more than ten years will be taking part in this month’s Under-20s county championships.

More than 100 trialists have been whittled down to a final 30 including players from Bury St Edmunds, Woodbridge, Sudbury, Ipswich and Stowmarket.

An impressive 13 youngsters from Suffolk will line up in the squad - with a further three on the stand-by list - hoping to play their part in matches against Essex and Middlesex on the road to an eventual final at Twickenham in May. The teenagers will also be scouted for potential London Divisional matches as well as national honours.

Andy McCallum, chairman of Marketing and Communications for Eastern Counties Rugby Union, said the body was delighted with the response of clubs who were asked for nominations for the new squad and came back with more than 100 responses.

McCallum said: “I think we have done extremely well in our first season to attract so many good players from such a good selection of clubs in the Eastern Counties.

“An Under-20s side is a new thing for us and we completely understand that clubs have pressures with their own fixtures. So we are extremely grateful to the clubs for releasing their players from across all levels of rugby.”

The new side, coached by Glen Remnant from Shelford, will return to the county championships tomorrow when they play Essex at Romford & Gidea Park RFC and then Middlesex at Shelford RFC on February 20.

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The results of these matches will be followed by a knock-out tournament in London and South East and then nationally with a final match planned for May 7 at Twickenham.

Suffolk representatives in the Eastern Counties 2011 squad are: Front Row - Josh Tagg, Joseph Winter (both Bury), Sam Goodwin (Ipswich); 2nd Row - Stuart Place (Bury), Dan Taylor (Sudbury), Joe Harrison (Stowmarket); Back Row - Conner O’Reilly (Woodbridge), Sam Bixby (Sudbury), Josh Walker (Bury); Inside Back - Jacob Bobkin (Woodbridge); Outside Back - Callum Roberts, Sam Cross (both Stowmarket), Shaun Smith (Sudbury).

Stand-by players - Jack Goodwin, Michael Graham (both Ipswich), Dan Garrard (Stowmarket).

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