England A to face Portugal in February

The game will take place at Leicester Tigers Stadium in February 2024
The game will take place at Leicester Tigers Stadium in February 2024

The Rugby Football Union has confirmed England A will be facing Portugal in February next year at Leicester Tigers Stadium.

The reintroduction of the England A side aims to offer additional playing opportunities for individuals transitioning from the U20 level to the senior team, facilitating their on-field growth and development.

Within the ongoing conversations concerning the Professional Game Partnership (PGP), the RFU and Premiership Rugby Limited (PRL) are committed to increasing the playing time for younger athletes to further their progress in the sport.

A coaching staff, comprising individuals from both the Gallagher Premiership and England Rugby, will be assembled in collaboration with PRL. The composition of the matchday 23 will be decided under the oversight of senior men's head coach, Steve Borthwick.

“It brings us great excitement to be renewing our A side in 2024, historically it has been a platform for some of the country’s next best players to showcase their talent whilst representing England,” said RFU Executive Director of Performance Rugby Conor O'Shea.

“Portugal demonstrated their capabilities as a rugby nation on the world stage in recent months with their attacking flair and passion – we can’t wait for more of that in the new year! They are a team possessing many bright stars for the future and are a befitting opponent for our A squad.

“England Rugby wants to be part of providing gametime and mutual collaboration for emerging nations such as Portugal, who have a great deal to offer to the game and I'm sure both they and our A side will gain a lot from February’s match.

"This builds on partnerships we have with other nations and are looking to develop further links with other emerging unions.”

In 2021, the England Saxons underwent a name change, becoming England A. However, their planned fixture against Scotland A at the Tigers' ground was eventually canceled. The last time this developmental team had an opportunity to play was back in 2016 when they secured a 2-0 series victory against South Africa A.