Rugby

Burns and Tooke selected to tour Ireland with England Counties’ Under-18s

IVYBRIDGE Community College’s Mat Burns and Plymouth College’s Seb Tooke have been selected to tour Ireland in April with the England Counties’ Under-18 squad.

The pair earned their places after impressing for the South West at a national development weekend held recently at Stourbridge.

However, before that the duo impressed for Devon Under-18s in their county fixtures in December.

Winger Burns plays his club rugby for Ivybridge, while Tooke turns out for Kingsbridge.

England Counties will gather on April 18 at HMS Temeraire in Portsmouth to prepare for two fixtures in Dublin against Ireland U18 Clubs’ XV and Ireland Schools’.

The first match will take place on Friday, April 19 followed by the second on Wednesday, April 24.

Last year England Counties won two thrilling encounters against their Irish counterparts, winning the first match 15-13 before backing that up with a 32-29 victory.  However, the last time the side toured Ireland in 2017 he hosts won both fixtures.

Head coach Giles Heagerty will once again take charge of the squad in what will be his eighth and final year involved with the programme.

He will be supported by assistant coach Matt Hutchings, team manager Dave Penberthy and Andrew Rickard in the role of assistant team manager.

“Every year I’m incredibly impressed by the skill level on show at our national development weekend and this year was no different,” said Penberthy.

“The selected players have done exceptionally well and they should all be incredibly proud of reaching this stage.

“Pulling on the white shirt at any level is a great honour and I’m sure the players are aware of that.”

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