North Devon trio aiming for England caps

Joseph Bulmer

THREE North Devon lads have started out on the road which could lead to an England rugby cap at U16 level.

Flanker Michael Peak, scrum-half Ben Vellacott and centre Lawrence May all made it through initial trials at Bryanston School in Dorset into the South West Divisional squad of 45 for a tournament at Wellington College in Surrey.

Squads from London, the Midlands, the North and the South West will play two games over the weekend, either side of a training day.

Devon’s England selector Pete Ramsey said, after the Wellington trials are completed divisional squads of 25 will be selected for another tournament in February.

“The England selectors are looking for the best of the best at Wellington, which means they can be a bit flexible about how they pick the squads,” said Ramsey,

“If the South West has three good scrum-halves and one of them is better than any of the lads from another division, they will be asked to play for them in the next round.

“It could be one of our lads plays for the North – things like that have happened before – as it is about finding the best players and not just filling quotas for each division.”

The squads selected after the Wellington trial will go forward to play in a mini tournament at Broadstreet RFC in Coventry in early February.

Once those games are played an analysed, three England squads will be picked.

“There will be an England U16 side, which will play international games, then England A and England B, who will go to festivals,” said Ramsey.

“Devon have a good chance of being well represented across the squads as we have ten lads still part of the process.

“It is a bit early to be talking about England caps just yet, but we can feel hopeful.”

The other Devon-based players bidding for places in the South West squad are Sam Simmonds (Torquay), Zander Connabeer (Ivybridge), Stuart Townsend (Kingsbridge) Dan Pullinger-Ham, Richard Bayliss and Tom Murray (all Devonport Services) and George de-Mendoza (Ivybridge).