Nick Walshe has made six changes from the England U20s side that beat Scotland for their match against Ireland this weekend.
Two members of last yearâ€™s JWC winning squad return to the starting fifteen, Harry Sloan and Scott Wilson. Wilson was playing for the England Saxons earlier in the month so his experience will prove both useful and inspirational to his teammates at Franklinâ€™s Gardens on Saturday, something that Walshe was keen to point out:
“It’s great to have this depth within our squad and we’re pleased to welcome back players with the experience that both Harry and Scott possess. Obviously it’s fantastic for Scott that he’s had recognition from the Saxons already this season, but his job, and our job, is to go out and perform well against Ireland on Saturday.â€
Returning to the side are Harry Thacker and Joel Conlon at hooker and openside respectively, while Alex Lundberg comes in at loosehead for his first start of the campaign, having represented the U20s as an U18 last year.
The final change to the side sees Howard Packman come in on the left wing for Henry Purdy after the Northampton Saints back impressed onlookers with his pace, guile, and quality in Northampton Saintsâ€™ U18s Academy League title win on Monday evening against Exeter Chiefs.
The England U20s have won one and lost one of their opening two Six Nations matches, losing to France and then comfortably beating Scotland two weeks ago, so they will be looking to build on that this weekend.
Walshe acknowledged that this game would be particularly special as it is being played at Franklinâ€™s Gardens, saying:
“The guys have trained well this week and heading back to Franklin’s Gardens is always special. It’s a proper rugby venue, we had a good win against Italy there last season and we’ll be looking to go out there and play as well as we can in front of a good home crowd.â€
It should be made even more special by the fact that this game will be the U20s first match of the season to be shown live on Sky Sports.
What do you think of the England U20s side, who will you be keeping an eye on as a potential future star? Let us know via the comment box below or via @FifteenRugbyXV
England U20s v Ireland U20s, Franklinâ€™s Gardens, Northampton, KO 18.15, Sky Sports.
15 Nathan Earle (Saracens)Â 14 Zach Kibirige (Newcastle Falcons)
13 Nick Tompkins (Saracens)Â 12 Harry Sloan (Harlequins)Â 11 Howard Packman (Northampton Saints)Â 10 Billy Burns (Gloucester Rugby)Â 9 Callum Braley (Bristol Rugby, captain);Â 1 Alex Lundberg (London Wasps)Â 2 Harry Thacker (Leicester Tigers)Â 3 Scott Wilson (Newcastle Falcons)Â 4 Maro Itoje (Saracens)Â 5 Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby)Â 6 Ross Moriarty (Gloucester Rugby)Â 7 Joel Conlon (Exeter Chiefs)Â 8 James Chisholm (Harlequins).
Replacements:Â 16 Jack Walker (Leeds Carnegie)Â 17 Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi (Northampton Saints)Â 18 Paul Hill (Leeds Carnegie)Â 19 Tom Ellis (Bath Rugby)Â 20 Gus Jones (London Wasps)Â 21 Henry Taylor (Loughborough University)Â 22 SamÂ Olver (Northampton Saints)Â 23 Henry Purdy (Leicester Tigers).