England A will return for the first time in seven years with a fixture against Portugal on 25 February 2024 at Welford Road.
The reintroduction of the England A, formerly known as England Saxons, side will provide more game time for players transitioning from the pathway at U20 level to the senior team and increase their on-field maturation and development.
As part of the ongoing discussions regarding the Professional Game Partnership (PGP), the RFU and Premiership Rugby Limited (PRL) want to ensure younger players have more game time in order to continue their playing development.
A coaching team involving personnel from across the Premiership and England Rugby will be chosen in consultation alongside PRL, with the selection of the match day 23 determined by senior men’s head coach, Steve Borthwick.
The friendly is set to take place on the weekend of round three in the Guinness Six Nations, giving those in the senior men’s wider squad valuable minutes outside of the tournament to maintain fitness throughout the campaign.
“It brings us great excitement to be renewing our A side in 2024,” said RFU Executive Director of Performance Rugby, Conor O’Shea. “Historically it has been a platform for some of the country’s next best players to showcase their talent whilst representing England.
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“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 game time 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 emerging nations and are looking to develop further links with other emerging unions.”
Quiz! Can you name the 20 most-capped men’s England players?
Several of these individuals have participated, or are presently participating, in the contemporary era of rugby.
Can you identify how many of the top 20 most-capped England rugby players you can name?
We’ve supplied the total number of caps and their respective playing positions for each player. Your task is simply to complete their surnames.
You have a 5-minute window to attempt to guess all 20 players.