FYLDE RU duo Gareth Rawlings and Mike Waywell are in the England Counties’ squad to take on their counterparts from Ireland, the Ulster Bank International Team, at Preston Grasshoppers on March 16.
The representative flagship of the county and community game, the Counties XV has a long tradition of blooding newcomers and next month’s line-up will include only five of those who played the Irish in Dublin a year ago.
This is due in no small part to the progress made by Counties players, with 11 of that squad now ruled out because they are playing in the Premiership or Championship.
Manager Mike Old said: “It’s disappointing that no National Two players are included as there is undoubted talent across the leagues, but I think this reflects the ability at National One level this season.”
No Jersey players were considered at the club’s request.
England counties: Forwards, Dave Allen (Blackheath), Rob Baldwin (Wharfedale), David Dickinson (Tynedale), Matthew Hall (Blaydon), Tom Mantell (Macclesfield), Lewis McGowan (Sedgley Park), Laurence Ovens (Rosslyn Park), Gareth Rawlings (Fylde), Dan Richmond (Rosslyn Park), Sam Shires (Tynedale), Lee Starling (Ealing Trailfinders), Chris Wearmouth (Blaydon); backs, Phil Chesters (Ealing Trailfinders), Andrew Henderson (Barking), Peter Hodgkinson (Ealing Trailfinders), Ross Laidlaw (Rosslyn Park), Charlie Mulchrone (Macclesfield), Fergus Mulchrone (Macclesfield), Harry Peck (Tynedale), Dom Shabbo (Rosslyn Park), Mike Waywell (Fylde), Tom Wheatcroft (Ealing Trailfinders).