TEESSIDER Lewis Boyce is in the England Under 18 squad for the match against Scotland at Darlington’s Blackwell Meadows on Sunday.
The 16-year-old prop is described as “a formidable lad” by Middlesbrough junior coach John Burridge, who added: “I think he will go all the way.”
Burridge, who coached Boyce in Boro’s under 14s and 15s, added: “He will still be eligible for this England age group next year and had he been 31 days younger he could also have played the year after.
“He has strength, power and speed. He joined us from Acklam in the under 14s and we turned him from a No 8 into a prop.”
Boyce is on contract with Leeds Carnegie, who moved him from Middlesbrough’s McMillan Academy to Prince Henry’s Grammar School at Otley.
There are two other Prince Henry’s pupils in the England squad, but only two more northerners, both attached to Sale Sharks.
Darlington were hoping that Newcastle Falcons winger Zach Kibirige would be involved as his brother, Adam, used to play for the club.
But he is required by Yarm School, who are one step from Twickenham in the Daily Mail Schools Cup.
They beat Loughborough Grammar School 27-11 in the quarter-final, with Kibirige scoring the first try, and they will now face Plymouth College on Sunday at Broadstreet RFC, Coventry.
England U18s won the FIRA/AER European Championship last season, beating Ireland 25-13 in the final in Madrid.
Last season they beat Scotland 20-8 in Hawick with tries from Callum Braley, Ross Moriarty and Joel Conlon, who have all moved into the England U20 set-up.
Head coach John Fletcher, the former Newcastle Falcons coach, said: “We’re hugely excited about heading up to Darlington – they have excellent facilities and we have enjoyed great support from matches in other parts of the country in previous seasons.
“We try to move the games around the country, allowing rugby supporters an opportunity to watch England’s young talented players play an international match.”
The match kicks off at 2pm with admission costing £5 for adults and £3 for under 16s.