Woodrow set for Russian adventure

DONCASTER Knights goal-kicking fly-half Mark Woodrow has been selected for the England Counties XV historic three-match tour to Russia next month.

With players drawn from 15 different counties and 17 different clubs, the side fully justifies its role as the representative flagship of the County and Community game outside the Guinness Premiership, and the squad is possibly the most diverse group ever brought together under the Counties XV banner since the team was formed in 2002.

With 12 newcomers to the England Counties scene, the squad also fulfils its role as a player development vehicle. It enables players to put down a marker that can ultimately lead to senior England honours, as Shaun Perry, David Strettle and Dean Schofield have recently underlined.

Esher prop Duncan Cormack, who captained the side this season’s games against an Ireland Clubs XV in Dublin and France Amateurs at Blackheath, will again lead the team, which will have a new coaching combination in Harvey Biljon from Blackheath and David Baldwin from Manchester.

“Every game for us is a challenge and an adventure and this tour will maintain that rich tradition,” says team manager Jim Robinson: “We have a group of players, some of whom have not played at this level, and little time to weld them into a coherent unit. And we have new and unknown opposition.

“We will be the first senior England representative side to visit Russia and that adds to the excitement and keen anticipation. We have quality players in our squad.’’