Congratulations to Cornish Pirates’ player/coach Alan Paver who has been appointed as Forwards Coach for the England Counties XV’s two-match tour to Georgia reports Cornish Pirates Media Officer Phil Westren.
The England side can expect two very tough fixtures against the Emerging Georgia team, with both games scheduled to take place at Georgia’s High Performance Centre in Tblisi. The first is to be played next Wednesday 4th June and the second on Sunday 8th June.
Of interest, as if to underline the developing strength of rugby in Georgia, at Cambridge on Saturday an England Counties under 20s side suffered a 23-22 defeat at the hands of Georgia under 20s.
Speaking with reference to his invite to help coach the England Counties XV, Alan, who has played for both Devon and Cornwall in the past, said:
“My fortune is on the back of someone else’s misfortune, as the current forwards coach had to drop out. Obviously I had to check that the club was happy for me to respond positively, but I needn’t have worried as there was immediate support and congratulations from Ian and colleagues.”
Photo – Alan Paver England Counties forwards coach this June.
Alan doesn’t profess to know too much about rugby in Georgia, other than it is clear that they are a developing strength. He added:
“People are taking them seriously and a number of their forwards are appearing in the French leagues. As for travelling to Georgia it is a tough place to go, but the England team will travel with a positive attitude and be competitive in both matches.
“For the players selected in the England Counties XV it is a fantastic opportunity.”
Plymouth Albion’s Head Coach, James Shanahan, will be in charge of the England Counties side, and the team will be led by Cornwall’s skipper and lock Ben Hilton.
Photo – Ben Hilton set to captain England Counties in Georgia
Joining Hilton in the 26-man squad are three other players who have represented Cornwall during this month. Prop Jamal Ford-Robinson (Cambridge) and wing Lewis Vinnicombe (Truro) have been previously capped by England Counties, as has Hilton, and joining them and looking forward to a first ‘cap’ is hooker Jamie Salter (Cornish All Blacks). All four players are also likely to appear for Cornwall against Lancashire on Sunday in the County Championship Final to be played at Twickenham.
Photo – Lewis Vinnicombe who returns to the England Counties squad for the first time since 2006
Photos – Simon Bryant Iktis photo & John Beach