HEAD coach Eddie Jones was delighted to hand Oxfordshire’s Alec Hepburn his England debut against Italy.

The former Henley Hawks prop, who now plays for Aviva Premiership champions Exeter Chiefs, featured in the 46-15 win in the NatWest Six Nations Championship last Sunday.

Former Oxfordshire Under 17s captain Hepburn replaced loosehead Mako Vunipola with seven minutes to go in Rome.

Jones said: “It was great for Alec Hepburn to come on for his first Test.

“He would have enjoyed being part of a dominant scrum, having his mate Harry Williams (of Exeter Chiefs) on the other side.

“There was plenty of hair in that front row.”

NINE Oxfordshire players will compete for a place in the England Counties Under 18s squad later this month.

The teenagers have been selected into the South West Division side where they will face London & South East, Midlands and North West between February 23-25 at Stourbridge, Dudley.

They will vie for a spot in the 23-man squad.

Oxon squad members: Oscar Mackie, Freddie Holford (both Witney), Toby Robottom (Chipping Norton), Ben Gordon (Banbury), Henry Isherwood (Abingdon School), Zachary Bischoff (Magdalen College School), Matthew Wilkinson, Evan Davies (both Chinnor) and Cameron King (St Edwards).

OXFORDSHIRE begin their Jason Leonard Under 20 County Championship campaign against Buckinghamshire at Aylesbury on Sunday (3).

FORMER Oxford University half-back Tom Mitchell captained England to joint seventh place at the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Hamilton, New Zealand.