England Women U20 will play three games this spring, taking on the Army before playing France twice.
In addition the Talent Development Group (TDG) will play twice, taking on Scottish Futures U18 and the emerging Wales Women side this spring.
The U20 will play their annual fixture against the Army at the Army Rugby Stadium, Aldershot on Saturday 9 February, KO 2pm. They then travel to Strasbourg to take on France U20 on Saturday 9 March before hosting the same side at Newbury RFC on Saturday 16 March, KO 2.30pm.
U20 Head Coach Jo Yapp said: “We are really looking forward to playing against the Army. This fixture is always a good test and great development opportunity for these young players ahead of our France fixtures.
“This year we have a very young squad with players being identified early through the TDG programme and the Tyrrells Premier 15s. We are looking forward to seeing how they cope with the challenges and pressure of international rugby over the next few months.”
The two TDG fixtures will be classed as friendlies, providing an important part of the England Women’s performance pathway to identify and support young talent at U18 level in the women’s game.
Their game against Scottish Futures U18 on Sunday 3 March will be hosted by Preston Grasshoppers, KO 12pm, before they travel to the Principality Stadium to take on Wales on 30 April, KO 6.15pm.
Lead coach and RFU Women’s Performance Pathway Officer James Cooper said: “The opportunity to play against the Scottish Futures U18 and Emerging Wales Women side is an exciting one for this group. It’s imperative that we continue to create quality playing opportunities for emerging talent as they develop.
“Having two fixtures this year will allow us to expose more players to the demands of preparing and playing in high level matches, which is vital for their development and can only help as they progress up the pathway into the U20, Tyrrells Premier 15s and hopefully Red Roses.
“For the TDG to play a fixture at the Principality, one of the biggest stadiums in the UK, is an invaluable learning opportunity that will bring new challenges for this group. Playing at Preston Grasshoppers, at their wonderful facility, will allow the players to experience a home game which brings its own different challenges and pressures for the players to adapt to and learn from. ”
The TDG works closely with regional constituent bodies and the Centres of Excellence from August to May each season. The RFU performance pathway team identifies developing talent, inviting players to take part in intensive training camps where they are assessed not only by on-field performance but also on leadership, organisation and problem-solving skill and ability.
The TDG evolves throughout the year enabling new players, who may not have originally been identified at the start of the season, but have been performing consistently well to be invited into the programme. The TDG runs a series of contact days throughout the season to provide ongoing training and support for selected players.
England Women U20 fixtures
England Women U20 v Army
Saturday 9 February, KO 2pm
Army Rugby Stadium, Aldershot
France Women U20 v England Women U20
Saturday 9 March, KO 6pm (TBC)
Stade de Hautepierre, Strasbourg
England Women U20 v France Women U20
Saturday 16 March, KO 2.30pm
Talent Development Group fixtures
England Women TDG v Scottish Futures U18
Sunday 3 March, KO 12pm
Preston Grasshoppers, Preston
Emerging Wales v England Women TDG
Tuesday 30 April, KO 6.15pm
Principality Stadium, Cardiff
Courtesy of the RFU