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Warriors youngsters handed England call-ups
SIXWAYS starlets Ben Howard and Josh Watkins yesterday headed off to link up with the England Under 20 Elite Player Squad training camp and are eager to make their mark on the international stage.
Full-back Howard, 19, and 18-year-old wing Watkins are part of the 32-man squad that will look to defend the Under 20 Six Nations title in the New Year, before heading to France for the IRB Junior World Championship next June.
Howard, who won an academy contract at Warriors after impressing in the Elite Player Development Group, said: “It’s a massive honour. I’ve put in a lot of hard-work during pre-season, so it’s all come to fruition and I want to make the most of the training camps.
“It will help me because I will be able to experience a bit more of a pressurised environment. It will help me develop and improve and if I show I can cope and thrive in the bigger matches, it will hopefully aid my selection at club level.
“I would like to get an England Under 20 cap this season and it would be nice to get some first-team action at Warriors as well. I want to get as much experience as possible and keep improving.”
Watkins added: “It’s a major honour to play for your country. It’s the pinnacle of your age group and it means a lot to me. It will give me a lot of experience. At 18, I’m a year younger than the other players so it will be a real physical test for me.
“I want to play Aviva ‘A’ League matches all season and stay injury-free so I can develop as much as possible. If I can play a cup game with the first-team, that would be a huge boost.”