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Mark Mapletoft: Why England U20s invited RugbyPass to film Embedded

By Liam Heagney
The England squad train in Cape Town with Table Mountain in the background

England U20s coach Mark Mapletoft has explained why he has permitted RugbyPass to film Embedded 2024, the behind-the-scenes documentary series on the exploits of his Six Nations title-winning squad at the World Rugby U20 Championship.

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The English open their Pool C campaign this Saturday with a heavyweight clash versus Argentina in Athlone and the first episode of the new docu series was released on Wednesday, quickly garnering the seal of approval from Mapletoft and his players who watched in the team room at their hotel in Cape Town.

It’s the second foray by RugbyPass into filming a team at the U20 Championship in South Africa as a series was also produced on Italy last year. The footage that Mapletoft saw from that production convinced him that it would be worthwhile for England to similarly lift the veil on their age-grade squad.

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Asked ahead of their opener versus the Argentines why England have thrown open their doors for public consumption, Mapletoft explained: “There is a number of reasons. It’s something players are exposed to at the top level so if we are using this as a development opportunity for our future best players or future internationals then they get accustomed to it.

“It’s part and parcel of everyday life, particularly when you are on tour. Coming away for long periods of time is challenging and you have to be able to adapt to the surroundings. I think as well coming off the back of covid, although it seems a long time ago now, there was a lot of I wouldn’t say negativity around the pathway but there was a degree of negativity I felt in ours.

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“We have worked incredibly hard as a whole collective to try and improve that and of course promoting it from within and externally is a huge part of that, making people aware of what we are doing, who the players are. That’s how society engages in life, isn’t it, through social media and things just take off in a instance.

“When we were approached to do it by RugbyPass, I know they did it last year – they showed us the example of what Italy had done. I personally didn’t have any problem with that. It’s the world we live in. We have got to embrace it and use it to be best of our advantage as long as it is not too intrusive and getting in players’ way of preparation.

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“All the staff we have had on board with this so far have been brilliant and I have watched the first episode with the players last night for the first time and all the feedback from family and friends has been, ‘We really enjoyed it’.

“It’s how we see life these days, short, sharp little snippets of information and yeah, we’re a long way from home, there probably won’t be many people here so to give them a taste of what we are doing win, lose or draw certainly is a brilliant idea.”

  • Click here to sign up to RugbyPass TV for free live World Rugby U20s Championship matches from Saturday, June 29

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