Saracens coach James Tirrell looks forward to seeing the England U20s at StoneX Stadium
There is a first for StoneX Stadium coming up in March as International rugby heads to North London.
England and Ireland Under 20s will go up against each other under the floodlights at the home of Saracens, and there is one man who will have a particularly keen eye on the action.
Academy Coach James Tirrell was one of the masterminds behind the Under 20s winning the Grand Slam in the summer, and now with the Six Nations heading to StoneX he will get the thrill of seeing some of the Saracens academy players with the Red Rose on their chest.
Tirrell, who came through the academy before retiring because of injury says the experience last summer was a huge learning curve for him and one he won’t forget.
“The good thing about coaching this group last year was that I got to see first hand the talent that this country has. For our home grown boys to play in an England shirt is a really exciting opportunity.
To work with England Under-20’s was a great experience. To be successful and win the Grand Slam was awesome. When you’re coaching at academy level, winning looks very different to what it does at international level. With England you’re trying to win a Grand Slam. With the Saracens academy, a win for us is Harvey Beaton, Brandon Jackson or Manu Vunipola playing for the first team at the weekend.” Said Tirrell.
Whilst he won’t be on the touchline this time, with Toby Knight and Alex Wardell both in the squad there are plenty of reason for Tirrell to be tuned in to the action.
“I’m looking forward to seeing Toby feature. In the lead up to the Six Nations last year he was doing really well and was unlucky to get an injury.
I’m excited for him to get the opportunity. He’s had a taste of the first team here in the Premiership Cup and impressed so if he keeps working hard he will do well.
Alex is at Loughborough at the moment but is working really hard on his game and I’m sure he’ll get the chance to show his quality as well.”
It goes without saying that Sarries have a long history with the Under 20’s, and you can safely predict that a large number of the players on show will go on to have illustrious careers for the national team in the future.
“When you look at the players who have played Under 20’s, it is a massive vehicle for development. It’s no coincidence that the likes of Maro, Owen, Mako and Jamie have all played at that level so hopefully our lads can take inspiration from that.
The 20’s allows players who are already in a full time environment such as our academy to come in and really put their stamp on it as they are used to the demands of full time rugby.”
Tickets for the match on Saturday 12th March are still available, and you can book your seat to see the stars of the future here.