Following the recent round of inter-regional matches in November, England Universities Head Coach Richard Tate has announced two 30-man train-on squads for the North and South teams who will contest the sixth Annual University Rugby League Origin Game – with Knights winger and York St John University student AJ Towse included!
Towse playing for North-East Universities in the inter-regional match last month, scoring twice, and is in line to feature in the North vs South clash on Sunday 6th February, kicking off at 3pm on Loughborough University.
The Origin game was first played in 2016 and has since been played annually to determine the final selection for the England Universities squad and is always fiercely contested with the North having won each of the previous encounters.
On his inclusion, Towse said: “I’m delighted to have been selected. It’s a great opportunity to train with some other young players in a different environment, hopefully play some representative rugby and to represent York St John University.”
Owing to the global pandemic, the Origin game did not take place in 2021 and Tate is very much looking forward to its return.
“The pandemic has meant that players have missed out on the representative programme, so it’s great to be back,” he commented.
“Myself and the rest of the staff have been itching to get back at it since we had to the England programme on hold in early 2020 and the players have told me that they missed not being able to play at University and have missed out on the opportunity to perform in the representative programme and be part of all the heritage that the England Universities programme has. It’s good to be back!”
The North squad is selected from players who played for the North East, Yorkshire and North West teams in the regional games, with the South coming from players at University in the Midlands, South East and South West.
Both squads will be reduced to 20 ahead of the game with a final squad of 26 being selected for the England programme which commences in March. 27 Universities are represented across the squads, demonstrating the truly national appeal of the University game.
North – 30-Man Train-on Squad:
Adam Lavin (Lancaster / North West)
AJ Towse (York St John / North East)
Alex Eckley (Liverpool John Moores / North West)
Alex Fitzhenry (Edge Hill / North West)
Ben Bradshaw (Hull / Yorkshire)
Ben Gray (Sheffield Hallam / Yorkshire)
Brad Calland (Edge Hill / North West)
Cameron Brown (Liverpool John Moores / North West)
Elliott Jones (Hull / Yorkshire)
Harry Trulson (Hull FC Sports College / Yorkshire)
Isaac Coleman (York / North East)
Jack Earl (York / North East)
Jack Quinn (Northumbria / North East)
Jake Lightowler (Northumbria / North East)
Jed Charlton (Northumbria / North East)
Joe Riley (Leeds / Yorkshire)
Jordan Bull (Leeds Beckett / Yorkshire)
Joseph Heaton (Edge Hill / North West)
Kellen Wood (Liverpool John Moores / North West)
Leon Stewart (Hull / Yorkshire)
Matty Rudd (Manchester Metropolitan / North West)
Max Flanagan (Newcastle / North East)
Nathan Newbound (Northumbria / North East)
Nathan Simpson (Leeds Beckett / Yorkshire)
Nathan Taylor (Liverpool John Moores / North West)
Ryan Johnson (Hull / Yorkshire)
Sam Eyres (UCLan / North West)
Sean Croston (Northumbria / North East)
Tyler Hepple (Northumbria / North East)
William Cohen (Leeds Beckett / Yorkshire)