Herts duo receive England Counties XV call-up for Georgia tour

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The England Counties XV selectors have included Hertfordshire duo Lawrence Rayner and Sean Edwards among 13 newcomers in a 26-strong squad for the two-match tour of Georgia next month.

The squad, which also includes two more Hertfordshire players – Billy Johnson and Ollie Cooper-Millar – has been selected from players who have represented their counties in this season’s Championship or National U20 Championship and will play matches against emerging Georgia in Tblisi on June 4 and June 8.

The Counties XV squad will be captained by Cornwall lock Ben Hilton and will have a new coaching and management team.

Steve Pope, the Counties XV head coach, is unavailable for the tour because of work commitments, so assistant coach James Shanahan, head coach of Plymouth Albion and formerly player coach of both Hertfordshire and Old Albanian, will take charge.

Alan Paver, the Cornish Pirates prop, will be joining the coaching team as forwards coach.