SIX players in the England Students squad – such a statistic shows rugby league talent and development in York is showing its worth.
That was the verdict of York City Knights development chief and York College coach Jack Stearman, after half a dozen players with strong links to the Minster city were included in the 32-strong England Students squad that will take on Australian aces next week.
Heading the list from the Knights ranks is 17-year-old prop Tim Stubbs, the York College student who defied age and inexperience to make his Knights’ first-team debut this year – becoming the club’s then youngest-ever player – and is also now on the verge of international honours alongside players a few years his senior.
The York Acorn ARLC junior is one of few players in the party still at sixth-form age, the majority being university players.
Also from the Huntington Stadium books is Luke Tomlinson, the winger who shone enough in the club’s youth system to earn a first-team squad contract alongside Stubbs. He studies in Hull.
Three more players who came through the Knights academy system are also in the squad.
They are former York College full-back Mark Wilson, who made two first-team appearances as a teenager in 2008; Heworth product Sam Blaney, an ex-York College centre who played once in that same campaign, having become in pre-season the first player from the old scholarship scheme to represent the first team; and Matt Brewer, the former Wetherby junior who starred in York’s under-18s team last season and could return to next year’s U19s after his university commitments end.
The sixth Yorkie is Carl Loft, a product of York Acorn ARLC, who has played for Yorkshire Under-19s in 2011 and is currently at Northumbria University.
England Students take on the feted Australian Institute of Sport on December 2, at Stanningley.
The tourists meet Wales U18s on Wednesday, then England Students, and English Lions U18s on December 5 at Heworth.