four talented prospects from the Yorkshire Carnegie academy ranks have been selected for the England Under-20s squad.
And academy director Andy Rock says their selection is a major boost for them and other youngsters in the county who hope to follow the same development pathway.
Props Lewis Boyce and Paul Hill are joined by hooker Jack Walker and full back/winger Taylor Prell in the squad for the junior Six Nations next season.
Speaking after their call up, Rock said: “Their selection is a massive boost for Yorkshire Carnegie and our approach to player development. However, most importantly it is a massive bonus for their development as players because of how good the contact time is and coaching is in the England Under-20 set up.”
Rock added: “Taylor went well with England Under-18s last year; he gets in this squad on merit. He will be a year young for this age group along with Jack and Lewis but this is a great opportunity for all three to be in that programme for two years hopefully.
“Taylor has a huge amount of potential but he will have to work hard as there are a lot of good back three players in the squad.
“However, as part of his development, working with Jon Callard will add a lot to his game from a coaching point of view.”
All four players have played in the Yorkshire Carnegie first team so far this season, and Rock believes the international training and playing environment will only aid their development further.
He added: “There is a great balance within our club. All four have played out on loan in the national league previously and have played in the first team this season. This is another really positive step for the journey they are going on and I am sure they have massive futures in the game.
“Ultimately, it is fantastic for us to see our Academy programme recognised at this level.
“It shows everything we are about as we look to create a pathway to give opportunities across the county for young players to develop and have the chance to play at the highest level.
“Jack and Taylor are from Settle, Lewis is from Middlesbrough and Paul Hill is from Doncaster, so there is a great spread.
“Three of the four have been with us for five years and this reinforces what we are trying to do on a regional scale.
“We want to give more young players the opportunity to follow that pathway.
“I am excited for all four of them. Having been around the Under-20s programme last year I know it is a fantastic opportunity for them.”
England centre Manu Tuilagi has been ruled out of next month’s autumn internationals by a groin injury, his club Leicester have announced.
PROP Adam Jones and fly-half James Hook have been left out of Wales’ 34-man squad for next month’s Tests against Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and South Africa.
The Welsh Rugby Union has announced a group that includes one uncapped player – 20-year-old Ospreys prop Nicky Smith – with flanker Sam Warburton confirmed as captain.
Cardiff Blues forward Jones and Gloucester back Hook have more than 170 caps between them, but can find no place in Wales head coach Warren Gatland’s squad. Jones, 33, has won 95 Wales caps and played in five Tests for the British and Irish Lions. Fellow Lion Hook, 29, has played in a number of positions behind the scrum for Wales, but both have failed to make Gatland’s cut.