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England name side for three in a row FIRA/AER Championship bid

England U18 have named their side to face Ireland U18 in the final of the FIRA/AER European Championships in Poland.

The young English side, who are bidding for their third title in a row, have made three changes from the side that beat Wales 11-9 in a pulsating semi final. Dulwich College’s three time Schools Cup winner, Josh Ibuanokpe, comes in at prop, whilst rival school Whitgift’s star second row, Stan South, also comes in.

Harry Mallinder of Rugby School also comes into the side, he starts at fly half after captaining the side in the quarter finals before impressing from the bench in the semi final by kicking a tough last gasp winning penalty.

He is joined at half back my Blundell’s Jack Maunder in the nine shirt, with Charlie Thacker of Leicester Grammar School on Mallinder’s outside shoulder at twelve.

Lucas Slowick and George Perkins of Filton and Oaklands retain their places at outside centre and right wing respectively, the experienced pair are the only players in the side to be involved in last year’s winning squad.

Kai ‘not so’ Little makes his third start of the tournament on the other wig, while Giggleswick’s Taylor Prell starts again at full back having excelled in the semi final.

Little is one of three Hartpury College players in the side, the others are Will Safe and Joe Batley in the back row. Joining them in the back row is Sir Thomas Rich’s Sam Underhill, who captains the side from number seven.

King’s Chester’s George Nott combines with Stan South in the second row, while Lewis Boyce of Prince Henry’s Grammar School props along with Ibuanokpe, with St Paul’s Catholic College’s Ollie Adams between them at hooker.

Speaking ahead of the 15.30 kick off, assistant coach Peter Walton was keen to point out that development was still the primary focus of this group:

“It’s going to be a tough challenge against a physical Ireland side but we’ve trained well since the Wales game, and the lads are in a good place.”

“We know that we’re going to have to front up, but that’s something we’re ready for. This game is about the future – we’ve mentioned that we’ve done well in the past, but it’s about developing these guys.”

Inside centre Charlie Thacker was prepared to be a bit more bullish though, he spoke of the need to deliver:

“We had a good team run and everything’s been going according to plan – we just need to deliver on the pitch against the Irish.”

“We’ve spoken about the guys that have played in the shirt before us, but it’s up to us to go out there and put in a good performance.”

England U18 v Ireland U18, FIRA/AER European Championship Final, Kick Off, 15.30.

England U18 XV:

15 Taylor Prell (Giggleswick, Leeds Carnegie) 

14 George Perkins (Oaklands, Saracens) 

13 Lucas Slowik  (Filton College, Bristol) 

12 Charlie Thacker (Leicester Grammar, Leicester Tigers) 

11 Kai Little (Hartpury College, Exeter Chiefs) 

10 Harry Mallinder (Rugby, Northampton Saints) 

9 Jack Maunder (Blundell’s, Exeter Chiefs)

1 Lewis Boyce (Prince Henry’s Grammar, Leeds Carnegie) 

2 Ollie Adams (St Pauls Catholic College, London Irish) 

3 Josh Ibuanokpe (Dulwich College, Harlequins)  

4 Stanley South (Whitgift, Harlequins) 

5 George Nott (Kings School Chester, Sale Sharks) 

6 Joe Batley (Hartpury College, Gloucester) 

7 Sam Underhill  (Sir Thomas Rich’s, Gloucester, captain) 

8 Will Safe (Hartpury College, Gloucester)

Replacements: 16 James Fish (Trent College, Northampton Saints) 
17 Owen Hills (Queen Elizabeth Wyggeston College, Leicester Tigers) 
18 Jack Stanley (Truro College, Exeter Chiefs) 
19 Callum Chick (Gosforth Academy, Newcastle Falcons)  
20 Huw Taylor (Old Swinford Hospital, Worcester Warriors) 
21 Josh Bainbridge (Prince Henry’s Grammar, Leeds Carnegie) 
22 Alex Mitchell (Lymm High School, Sale Sharks) 
23 Theo Brophy Clews (Abingdon School, London Irish) 
24 Joe Marchant (Peter Symonds, Harlequins) 
25 Rotimi Segun (Stowe School, Northampton Saints) 
26 Cameron Cowell (St Pauls Catholic College, London Irish).

Ireland U18 XV:

15. Jacob Stockdale (Wallace High School/Ulster)

14. Jordan Larmour (St. Andrew’s College/Leinster)

13. Jack Power (Blackrock College/Leinster)

12. Colm Mulcahy (Clongowes Wood College/Leinster)

11. Calvin Nash (Crescent College Comprehensive/Munster)

10. Matthew Gilsenan (St. Michael’s College/Leinster)

9. Rowan Osborne (Clongowes Wood College/Leinster)

1. Andrew Porter (St. Andrew’s College/Leinster)

2. John Molony (Clongowes Wood College/Leinster)

3. Conan O’Donnell (Summerhill College/Connacht)

4. James Ryan (St. Michael’s College/Leinster, captain)

5. Sean O’Connor (Rockwell College/Munster)

6. Will Connors (Clongowes Wood College/Leinster)

7. Johnny Guy (St. Andrew’s College/Leinster)

8. Max Deegan (St. Michael’s College/Leinster)

Replacements: 16. Conor McIlmurray (Campbell College/Ulster)
17. Hugo Kean (Blackrock College/Leinster)
18. Conor Kenny (Garbally College/Connacht)
19. Peter Claffey (Garbally College/Connacht)
20. Greg Jones (St. Andrew’s College/Leinster)
21. David Duggan (St. Michael’s College/Leinster)
22. Jimmy O’Brien (Newbridge College/Leinster)
23. Paul Kiernan (Presentation Brothers Cork/Munster)
24. Oisin O’Meara (St. Michael’s College/Leinster)
25. Alan McMahon (Rockwell College/Munster).

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