England's under 18s have been impressing on the youth level recently, going on to retain the European Championship title for a third consecutive year, and now John Fletcher's men prepare for a tour of South Africa.
Head coach Fletcher has a pool of talented players at his disposal, and with the next generation looking hungry and liking the taste of success it will only be a matter of time until they go on to dominate the further youth levels of rugby.
"We’re looking forward to heading out there – it’s a significant part of our programme, and playing these three countries will be a huge challenge," Fletcher said.
"Playing South Africa in their own back yard is one of the toughest things you can do in rugby, but it’s something we’re looking forward to."
Tour of South Africa
In rugby South Africa are a dominant force who carve out results through hard work and a tenacity to win, as the 2007 World Cup represented this when the Springboks dominated in Paris to clinch the Rugby World Cup beating England in the final 15-6.
So for the youngsters to go to South Africa and take on another group of talented youngsters along with Wales and France, who they know well, it will be a challenging test which will help these players develop their game.
These players are used to facing Wales and France in Europe, but when they take on these two teams in Cape Town and George it will be unfamiliar territory before ending the two week tour taking on the hosts South Africa in Stellenbosch.
But Fletcher went on to state that it is about taking these boys out of their comfort zones and getting them playing rugby in unfamiliar conditions.
"Touring is huge for these players – it takes them out of their comfort zones and the proof is in the pudding,"
"The vast majority of the Under 20s who have won back-to-back World Cups toured the southern hemisphere with the Under 18s, so it definitely stands them in good stead."
The youth of England have been developing remarkably over the last couple of seasons, as the current England under 20s have won the Junior Rugby World Cup for two consecutive years.
In 2013 they beat Wales 23-15 in the host country of France, before going on to retain the title in 2014 beating South Africa 21-20 in New Zealand.
On top of dominating the world competitions, in the Six Nations they have won the European tournament three consecutive times between 2011 and 2013.
But this hasn't been a one off as the under 18s are following in the older generation's footsteps, having retained the European Championship three times.
The future for English rugby looks incredibly exciting as these youngsters play with no fear and conclude to go on and create history, as it takes more than luck to retain a Championship.
The next Junior World Championship will be hosted by Italy in 2015. Under 20s may be ineligible to feature but this doesn't stop the under 18s preparing for a much anticipated tournament, and hopefully securing a third World Championship.
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