Saints head coach Vesty so honoured as he's handed role with England Men's A

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Saints head coach Sam Vesty says it is 'a privilege and an honour' to have been selected as part of the coaching staff to lead England Men’s A against Portugal next month.

Gloucester boss George Skivington will head up the management team, with Vesty taking up the role of attack coach and former Saints centre Dom Waldouck taking charge of the defence.

The England A side return after an eight-year absence as they get stuck into an encounter with Os Lobos at Mattioli Woods Welford Road, the home of Leicester Tigers, on Sunday, February 25 (kick-off 1pm).

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And Vesty said: “It’s always a privilege and an honour to be asked to help support England, to wear a Red Rose on your chest and to compete at a high level, so I can’t wait to get started.

Sam Vesty (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)Sam Vesty (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Sam Vesty (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

“It’s a great opportunity for me to work with some of the best young talent in the country.

"We’ll be encouraging these players to go out and play what’s in front of them, getting their eyes up and putting their best foot forward – both in terms of playing well in the game against Portugal, but also hopefully progressing on to further honours with England.

“It’s a great learning and development opportunity as well for me to experience a different environment, working with different players and coaches, and I’ll head into camp with a really open mind.”  

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The coaching team was chosen in consultation alongside Premiership Rugby, with the selection of the first matchday 23 since 2016 to be determined by senior men’s head coach Steve Borthwick in due course.

Portugal will provide a stern test for England Men’s A team after a strong showing in last year’s Rugby World Cup, which included a draw against Georgia followed by a maiden tournament win over quarter-finalists Fiji. 

Speaking ahead of the announcement, Skivington voiced his delight in being confirmed as the England Men’s A head coach.

“It’s a massive honour to be asked by Conor (O’Shea) and Steve (Borthwick) to lead the England Men’s A team next month," Skivington said.

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"I recognise the trust they have placed in me with this opportunity, and I look forward to linking up with the coaching group and the squad in February.

“I’m delighted that Dom Waldouck will be joining me as defence coach. His passion for the game and dedication to his craft makes him an exciting young coach who I think will develop to be one of the best in the country.

“The England Men’s A team will serve as a good opportunity for young English players on the cusp of international honours to show what they’re about.”

RFU Executive Director of Performance Rugby Conor O’Shea said: “On behalf of the RFU, I’d like to thank both Gloucester and Northampton, alongside Premiership Rugby, for their collaboration and effort in assembling what is a very exciting coaching panel ahead of our Men’s A fixture against Portugal next month. 

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“We’re fortunate to possess a coaching staff boasting a wealth of experience in the game that totals decades and will be a fantastic match for the appropriate challenge of Os Lobos. 

“Each member of the coaching staff was picked with the consideration of their ability to develop young players and bringing international talent to the top of English rugby.  

“This fixture, as well as the England Men’s A games to come, aims to elevate that platform and build a consistent pathway for young English players into the senior level of the game in this country.”