Luke Phoenix has one of the best steps in English schoolboy rugby
Luke Phoenix is a schoolboy rugby stepping sensation.
Having came through the ranks at the Leicester Tigers Academy and won back to back academy league titles, Phoenix has also lit up the schools scene, plying his trade for Langley School. The winger/fullback is set to be making waves on the transfer scene shortly – so keep your eyes peeled!
Edited by Callum Whitten
CREDIT: Raw Rugby
In other news:
Head coach Chris Horsman will take his Wales squad to South Africa this weekend for the U18 International Series for what will be one of their toughest tests of the year.
Ever since 2012 the best of Wales’ teenage players have headed to Stellenbosch to join teams from South African Schools, England and France for a triangular tournament that has proved the breeding ground for many future internationals.
Included in Warren Gatland’s current World Cup training squad are a number of graduates from the seven previous South African summer safaris – Josh Adams (2013), Hallam Amos (2012), Adam Beard (2013), Leon Brown (2015), Rhys Carre (2016), Elliot Dee (2012), Ryan Elias (2013), Steff Evans (2013), Dillon Lewis, Nicky Smith (2012), Owen Watkin (2014) and Tomos Williams (2013).
A change in age range will mean this side will be younger than many of the previous teams and the only players to return after the 2018 trip, when Wales lost an epic battle with the South African Schools team 43-40 before beating England 26-20, are Bath Academy prop Archie Griffin and Dragons centre Morgan Richards.
Griffin is one of a number of Exiles players in the 26-strong squad that includes the Millfield School full back Dan John, son of former Wales scrum half Paul John. Looking to earn his first cap at this age will be outside half Ben Burnell, whose father Justin Burnell is a former Wales U19 head coach and the current director of rugby at Pontypridd.
“There has been a change in the age grade system. With every country moving to January 1, from September 1, as an academic school date it meant we were only having one fixture at Under 18 level,” said Horsman.
“So we decided to fall in line with the international calendar. That’s why we’ve brought in the Under 19 team to give players another opportunity to play international rugby.
“It worked really well for us last season with U19 games against Japan and England. This group going to South Africa is more of an U17 team.
“In the past, the group we’ve taken has been 6-8 months older and a lot of the current group are in the first year of sixth form. It’s a younger group, but a very talented group.
“We’ve got a lot of strength in depth in certain positions and for the first time in a few years we’ve got a very good batch of second rows – James Fender, Ben Carter, Chris Tshiunza a. There is also some real strength in depth in the back-row.
“One of the strengths of our performance pathway is we are very aligned all the way through. Coaches of the 18s, 19s and 20s all sit at the same desk, whereas in other countries they only get together in tournament time.