England have named their U20 team to face Wales at Eirias Park tomorrow evening, with Bryanston School old boy Charlie Ewels selected to skipper the side.
The pathway form the U20s to the senior setup has been shown to be a quick one in recent times, with 2014 graduate Maro Itoje joining the Saxons earlier this month, and 2013 graduates Jack Nowell and Henry Slade involved in the senior set up and their fellow 2013 JWC winner Anthony Watson starting against Wales on Friday night at the Millennium Stadium.
Ewels skippered Bath United to the A League semi final earlier this month and he is joined by a further two ex Bryanston teammates and current Bath teammates in the starting line up, Max Clark at inside centre and Rory Jennings at fly half, a combination that worked wonders at schoolboy level.
Ewels was of course part of that 2014 JWC winning group and there are four other players in the team who were also part of that triumph, Nothampton Saintsâ€™ Howard Packman on the left wing, Brighton College old boy James Chisholm at number 8, and the Prince Henryâ€™s Grammar School at Yorkshire Carnegie duo of Paul Hill and Jack Walker in the front row. Walker actually captained Carnegie earlier this year as an 18 year old.
Also included in that JWC campaign was Tom Fowlie, who is on the bench tomorrow, however he had to drop out of the squad due to injury. Stuart Townsend, who starts at scrum half, also went on that trip as an analyst, with Callum Braley and Henry Taylor having already snapped up the scrum half berths.
Completing the back division are Joe Marchant at outside centre, Marchant shared the same school as his Harlequins clubmate Mike Brown, Peter Symondsâ€™ College. Outside him on the right wing is Saracensâ€™ George Perkins, with Waspsâ€™ Piers Oâ€™Connor at full back.
IN the pack the Birstol loosehead Ellis Genge joins Walker and Hill in the front row, with John Fisher leaver and former star Kieran Treadwell forming a mighty second row partnership with Ewels.
Joining Chisholm in the back row are the Leicester Tigers duo of Will Owen and Charlie Beckett.
On the bench their clubmate Jake Farnworth covers hooker, with last yearâ€™s Wellington College star Seb Adeniran-Olule also covering the front row along with the former St Ambrose College man Ciaran Parker.
Gloucesterâ€™s Joe Batley covers the second row with Yorkshire Carneigieâ€™s Josh Bainbridge covering the back row. The former Lymm High School pupil James Mitchell covers nine with his Sale Sharks teammate Tom Morton also on the bench with Tom Fowlier rounding it off. Mitchellâ€™s younger brother Alex was part of last yearâ€™s U18 FIRA/AER European Championship winning England side.
Speaking ahead of the game it was clear how much respect England U20 Head Coach John Callard has for the experience some of his side have been gaining for the clubs, singling out Ewels in particular:
“Charlie is a leader.Â He’s been playing first team rugby for Bath and has come up against France internationals Louis Picamoles, Imanol Harinordoquy and Thierry Dusautoir this season â€“ that kind of experience is second to none and will stand us in good stead.”
Wales U20 v England U20 – Eirias Park, Colwyn Bay, Saturday, 19.30 – S4C
England U20 XV:
15 Piers O’Conor (Wasps)
14 George Perkins (Saracens)
13 Joe Marchant (Harlequins)
12 Max Clark (Bath)
11 Howard Packman (Northampton Saints)
10 Rory Jennings (Bath)
9 Stuart Townsend (Exeter Chiefs)
1 Ellis Genge (Bristol)
2 Jack Walker (Yorkshire Carnegie)
3 Paul Hill (Yorkshire Carnegie)
4 Kieran Treadwell (Harlequins)
5 Charlie Ewels (Bath, captain)
6 Charlie Beckett (Leicester Tigers)
7 Will Owen (Leicester Tigers)
8 James Chisholm (Harlequins)
16 Jake Farnworth (Leicester Tigers)
17 Seb Adeniran-Olule (Harlequins)
18 Ciaran Parker (Sale Sharks)
19 Joe Batley (Gloucester)
20 Josh Bainbridge (Yorkshire Carnegie)
21 James Mitchell (Sale Sharks)
22 Tom Morton (Sale Sharks)
23 Tom Fowlie (London Irish)
England U20 Six Nations Schedule:
v Wales U20 – Eirias Park, Colwyn Bay, Saturday, 19.30 – S4C
v Italy U20 – The Brickfields, Plymouth, Friday 13th February, 19.45 â€“ Sky Sports
v Ireland U20 – Donnybrook Stadium, Dublin, Friday 27th February, 19.05 â€“ Sky Sports
v Scotland U20 – Darlington Mowden Park, Darlington, Friday 13th March, 17.30 â€“ Sky Sports
v France U20 – American Express Community Stadium, Brighton, Friday 20th March, 19.55 â€“ Sky Sports