Durham University well represented as England Students return

Fred Davies, Durham captain, has been named in the 23-man squad

England Students have announced their squad for their upcoming, standalone fixture against French Universities on April 22nd.

Following positive negotiations towards the end of last year between the two parties, the match will take place at Newcastle Falcons' Kingston Park.

In a statement in December, England Students outlined the game was being funded by SRFU reserves and funding was for 'this fixture only' after the RFU revealed it wouldn't be able to support the programme due to the finanical challenges presented by the pandemic.

With the future of England Students still unknown, the focus for Darren Fearn's side will be to showcase the growing profile of university rugby in the best possible fashion.

The current Newcastle University head coach has selected five players from BUCS Super Rugby league champions Durham including skipper Fred Davies - who will be joining Gallagher Premiership outfit Bristol Bears in the summer - as well as winger Paul Brown-Bampoe, Harry Craven, Monty Royston and Matthew Woodward.

The Palatinate face the University of Exeter in this year's BSR Championship final at Sixways and the Green and Whites have three representatives in the 23-man party; vice-captain Will Yarnell, fly-half Josh Barton and rising star Tom Hitchcock.

In total, there are 21 BUCS Super Rugby players named in the squad - Loughborough & Cardiff Met (4), Hartpury & Leeds Beckett (2) and Bath (1) - whilst only Harry Clayton (Newcastle) and Sunni Jardine (Birmingham) come from teams outside of university rugby's top tier.

Speaking about the return of the programme, Fearn told TRU: "I am so excited. I am excited again for the opportunity it presents for the players and the student game.

"There has been a lot of work which has gone in behind the scenes by the Student Rugby Union in terms of funding this to provide an opportunity for a group of lads to go and represent their country against what will be a strong French team at a big stadium."