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Two weeks until the start of the JWC!

In just two weeks England U20s will begin their defence of the Junior World Championship in New Zealand.

The championship, commonly known as the JWC, begins on the 2nd June and will run to the 20th, with twelve teams competing across three groups. The ‘Baby’ Blacks are the traditional Kings of the U20 world but have not celebrated a JWCsince their incredible four in a row, which ended in 2011.

The 2012 version was won by South Africa, while England grabbed the spoils last year in a dramatic final against France.

This year England find themselves in Group A, alongside Australia, Argentina, and Italy, while Wales are in Group B with Ireland, France and Fiji.

The hosts, New Zealand, are in Group C, where Scotland, Samoa, and their eternal rivals, South Africa, will be their opposition.

Qualification from the groups is based not just on position but on total points. Therefore the fourth semi finalist will be the best placed runner up from the group stages, and so on.

England U20s named their squad a few weeks ago but had to make three changes at the end of last week after Jonny Hill, Harry Thacker, and Tom Fowlie had to withdraw through injury.

Their misfortune presents an opportunity for others though, and in Saracens’ Hayden Thompson-Stringer, Sale Sharks’ Cameron Neild, and Leicester Tigers’ George Catchpole England have three experienced and talented replacements.

Just seven of the squad were part of last year’s successful squad though as many of the side have now progressed beyond the U20s, with Jack Nowell rising particularly fast as he starred for England in this year’s Six Nations.

Those seven will surely be heavily involved during the campaign, which begins on the 2nd June against Italy, before fixtures against Australia four days later, and Argentina on the 10th.

JWC Groups

Group A

Group B

Group C

Argentina

Fiji

New Zealand

Australia

France

Samoa

England

Ireland

Scotland

Italy

Wales

South Africa

JWC Fixtures:

2nd June

Argentina v Australia (Group A)

England v Italy (Group A)

Wales v Fiji (Group B)

France v Ireland (Group B)

South Africa v Scotland (Group C)

New Zealand v Samoa (Group C)

6th June

Argentina v italy (Group A)

England v Australia (Group A)

France v Fiji (Group B)

Wales v Ireland (Group B)

Scotland v Samoa (Group C)

New Zealand v South Africa (Group C)

10th June

Australia v Italy (Group A)

England v Argentina (Group A)

Ireland v Fiji (Group B)

Wales v France (Group B)

Samoa v South Africa (Group C)

New Zealand v Scotland (Group C)

15th June

10th v 11th (9th Place semi)

9th v 12th (9th Place semi)

5th v 8th (5th Place semi)

6th v 7th (5th Place semi)

2nd v 3rd (Semi Final)

1st v 4th (Semi Final)

20th June

Loser 10/11 v Loser 9/12 (11th Place Play Off)

Winner 10/11 v Winner 9/12 (9th Place Play Off)

Loser 5/8 v Loser 6/7 (7th Place Play Off)

Winner 5/8 v Winner 6/7 (5th Place Play Off)

Loser 2/3 v Loser ¼ (3rd Place Play Off)

Final – Winner of 2nd vs 3rd versus Winner of 1st v 4th

England U20 Squad:

Forwards: Biyi Alo (Saracens)
James Chisholm (Harlequins)
Joel Conlon (Exeter Chiefs)
Tom Ellis (Bath Rugby)
Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby)
Paul Hill (Leeds Carnegie)
Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi (Northampton Saints)
Maro Itoje (Saracens)
Gus Jones (London Wasps)
Alex Lundberg (London Wasps)
Ross Moriarty (Gloucester Rugby)
Cameron Neild (Sale Sharks)
Harry Rudkin (Leicester Tigers)
Hayden Thompson-Stringer (Saracens)
Jack Walker (Leeds Carnegie)
Tom Woolstencroft (Bath Rugby).

Backs: Callum Braley (Bristol Rugby, captain)
Billy Burns (Gloucester Rugby)
George Catchpole (Leicester Tigers)
Nathan Earle (Saracens)
Aaron Morris (Bedford Blues)
Sam Olver (Northampton Saints)
Henry Purdy (Leicester Tigers)
Howard Packman (Northampton Saints)
Harry Sloan (Harlequins)
Tom Stephenson (Northampton Saints)
Henry Taylor (Loughborough University)
Nick Tompkins (Saracens).

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