Prop Xavier Valentine and winger Harry Robinson are two of six Leeds Beckett students named in the England Students training squad ahead of their double fixture with France Students in April.

Valentine made his third appearance for Yorkshire Carnegie in last weekend’s game at London Scottish whilst Robinson made a try scoring debut against the Dragons Premiership Select at Huddersfield YMCA.

England Students Head coach Aaron James brought a 34-man squad together for the first time to run through set piece plays and structure, and says it was a helpful exercise with just three months until they play France.

“The purpose of the training day was to get to know each other, so we are ahead when we get into camp in April. The guys now understand parts of how we want to play,” said James.

“It has also helped us with the selection process – this just being one part of a wider assessment.”

Those in attendance came from universities across England, with the large majority representing institutions that ply their trade in the BUCS Super Rugby competition.

And James was impressed with their skill set and ability to bond as a team in a small amount of time, crediting the competition as ideal preparation for France.

“BUCS Super Rugby has resulted in a higher level of play, which will boost England Students’ chances against a French side boasting players of professional standards,” he added.

“The competition has taken another step up this year, and the guys will benefit from that; the standard has to be very high to play France. We need to be at a National One standard or above.”

Considering everyone
The next step for England Students’ management team is to continue watching players, and James stresses everyone is in consideration.

“There is opportunity to be involved, and we’re going to do that as an international program. If you’re not in form or others are performing better than you, they deserve a shot.”

The final squad selection will be announced in March ahead of the BUCS Super Rugby semi finals, and once chosen, the group will convene for a two-day training camp starting on 10 April, before heading to France, where they will play against France Students on 15 and 20 April in the Chambéry region.

England Students training squad
Ollie Adams (Loughborough)

Andrew Boyce (Loughborough)

George Davis (Loughborough)

Luke Frost (Loughborough)

Will Kaye (Loughborough)

Jack Stapeley (Loughborough)

Theo Vukasinovic (Loughborough)

Owen Waters (Loughborough)

Musa Yusuff (Loughborough)

Tom Ffitch (Loughborough)

Aaron Bagwell (Exeter)

George Gosling (Exeter)

Ted Landray (Exeter)

Simon Linsell (Exeter)

Mike Haines (Exeter)

Felix Maddison (Exeter)

James McRae (Exeter)

Sam Morley (Exeter)

Josh Pieters (Exeter)

Josh Bragman (Northumbria)

Will Muir (Northumbria)

Oliver Robinson (Northumbria)

George Wacokecoke (Northumbria)

Will Britton (Bath)

Tom Doughty (Bath)

Conrad Cade (Leeds Beckett)

James Elliot (Leeds Beckett)

Ryan Eveleigh (Leeds Beckett)

Dan Kelly (Leeds Beckett)

Harry Robinson (Leeds Beckett)

Xavier Valintine (Leeds Beckett)

James Forrester (Hartpury)

Alex Gibson (Hartpury)

Tom Pashley (Hartpury)

Luke Stratford (Hartpury)

Tim Cardall (Nottingham Trent)

David Williams (Nottingham Trent)

Max Cresswell (Bristol)

Will Goodrick-Clark (Oxford Brooks)

Jake Hennesy (Cambridge)

Buchan Richardson (Cambridge)

Dan Nutton (Newcastle)

Charlie Wilson (Durham)

Will Wilson (Oxford)