Shock England call-up for young Norfolk rugby star Will Evans
- Credit: PA
Norfolk teenager Will Evans has been named in a provisional 45-man elite player squad (EPS) for England's pre-season training camp in August.
The 19-year-old's incredible rise has continued with the call-up, after making his breakthrough for Leicester Tigers at the end of last season, before making his England U20s debut and helping to win the World Rugby U20 Championships this summer.
The former Wymondham RUFC junior and Wymondham College pupil is named in the squad alongside fellow Norfolk-born players and Leicester team-mates Ben and Tom Youngs.
Scrum-half Ben played a key role as England won the Six Nations grand slam earlier this year and in a unexpected series triumph in Australia this summer.
The news is a big boost for older brother Tom though, as the 29-year-old hooker missed both of those successes, having first been dropped by new head coach Eddie Jones and then having to have minor back surgery.
Norwich-born Evans has represented England at U18, U17 and U19 level and the flanker became the second-youngest forward ever to start a match for Tigers in April, before going on to score two tries in his following three Aviva Premiership games.
The squad will meet at the Lensbury Hotel from August 6-8 and take part in training, planning meetings and individual reviews in preparation for the Old Mutual Wealth Series against South Africa, Fiji, Argentina and Australia later in the year.
Jones has named a number of uncapped players to attend the camp. Mike Williams (Leicester) and Nathan Hughes (Wasps) are included for the first time while Josh Beaumont (Sale), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins) and Ben Te'o (Worcester) have all previously spent time with England.
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Following their series win in South Africa with England Saxons, Dan Robson (Wasps), Mike Haley (Sale) and Charlie Ewels (Bath) will join the camp, as will Joe Marchant (Harlequins) and Evans, who were part of the England team who won the World Rugby U20 Championship in June.
England will announce a final 45-man EPS on September 30 for the Old Mutual Wealth Series starting against South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday, November 12.
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'This camp sets the scene for November,' said England head coach Jones. 'It's important to catch-up with the players prior to the start of the season and continue to put our plans in place.
'We'll use this time to reset and review each player's goals so they're clear on what is expected of them between now and when we meet up again in October. It also gives us an opportunity to meet and assess some new players and ensure they are familiar with the England setup.
'The long-term strategy for England is to develop a side who can be the most dominant team in world rugby, so we've chosen a number of new faces to attend this camp on the form they have shown recently or the potential we see in them.
'There will always be opportunities for anyone playing consistently well in the Premiership at the start of the season to force their way into the EPS – the door is always open. Naturally players not included in this pre-season camp will be disappointed, but consistent high-level performances can change this.'
After a fantastic whitewash of Australia this summer, Jones is looking to maintain his perfect record of 10 wins from 10 matches since succeeding Stuart Lancaster after last year's World Cup.
'Our next game presents us with a huge challenge,' Jones continued, speaking to EnglandRugby.com. 'England has not beaten South Africa since 2006 and we've lost our last five games against the Springboks at Twickenham. Not a single player who will attend the pre-season camp has played in a side that has ever beaten South Africa.
'While we acknowledge that we're moving in the right direction we also recognise that defeat is never far away. It's important the players all keep trying to improve and push themselves to reach new standards in their game. We cannot afford to have any complacency in our approach to this Test.'