England Youth boss Allan Coleman, who with his Leigh Miners Rangers colleague Paul Whitworth was hailed as Coach of the Year at the Kingstone Press Cider National Conference League’s Annual Dinner on Saturday, will hit another high later today when he experiences international football for the first time.
Coleman, whose Miners side pulled off the `treble’ this year, will name his team for this evening’s game against South Africa Youth at Harlequins RUFC, Pretoria, in a couple of hours’ time, and admitted: “I am absolutely over the moon to be here, representing my country, and I’m only the coach – the lads must feel bigger than me.
“The players have been a credit to everyone involved in their development, and have worked their socks off.
“They have turned up to every session chomping at the bit. It’s hard to contain a young set of lads and if their attitude to training converts onto the playing field we will not go wrong.”
Coleman’s assistant, Paul Couch, added: “I can’t thank everyone enough for giving me this opportunity.
“I’m really enjoying international rugby and I’m with a great coach in Alan.”
Couch, who will coach Castleford Tigers Under 19s in the new year after a successful spell at Lock Lane, admitted: “You never stop spotting talent and these kids still have a chance in the professional game.
“If anyone stands out I’ll be having words to see if we can give them a go.”
England have, however, had a setback with dynamic packman Ben Tootill of Ince Rose Bridge suffering from a continuous nose bleed.
“Ben’s nose started to bleed the day we got off the plane and after each session it got worse” said Coleman.
“Our team Manager took him to the medical centre today and unfortunately they have ruled him out for a minimum of 48 hours, which sadly takes him out of selection for the First Test.
“But he has every chance of being included for the Second Test on Saturday. I will do everything in my power to get him on that park. He’s had an injection and he’s having a little treatment tomorrow and, fingers crossed, he’ll be there for the next game.”