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England U18 name side for 3rd place play-off with Italy

England U18 head coach John Fletcher has announced five changes to the starting line-up as the team prepare to face Italy in the European Championship bronze final at 2pm today.

Half-back pairing Mark Dixon (Lymm High School) and Jack Maunder (Blundell’s) come into the XV following the narrow loss to France on Tuesday. Maunder will also assume the captaincy after Theo Brophy Clews (Abingdon) picked up an injury in Blagnac.

Curtis Langdon’s (St Paul’s CC) inclusion is the only change to the pack, with Dan Frost (SGS Filton College) moving to the bench. Elsewhere, Jonny McPhillips (Sedbergh) and Gabriel Ibitoye (Trinity) come into the backline.

Ahead of the game Fletcher spoke on the importance of a strong finish:

“It’s important for us to finish the campaign with a strong performance, the players were disappointed with the loss on Tuesday and are eager to go out and show everybody what they are capable of.”

“Our whole focus is on how we play. We’ve had a good few days training and the players are really excited about playing at Toulouse’s ground.”

The final will also take place today at 4pm, with host nation France taking on Georgia, who beat Ireland and Italy in their opening two games, both via penalty shoot outs.

England U18 XV:

15. Johnny McPhillips (Newcastle Falcons, Sedbergh School)

14. Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins, Trinity College)

13. Dominic Morris (Saracens, New Hall School)

12. Max Malins (Saracens, Felsted)

11. Paolo Odogwu (Leicester Tigers, Leicester Grammar School)

10. Mark Dixon (Sale Sharks, Lymm HS)

9. Jack Maunder (Exeter Chiefs, Blundell’s) (Captain)

1. Jake Pope (Sale Sharks, Myerscough College)

2. Curtis Langdon (London Irish, St Pauls CC)

3. Charlie Capps (Prince Henry’s, Yorkshire Carnegie)

4. Josh Caulfield (Exeter Chiefs, Bicton College)

5. Nick Isiekwe (Saracens, Haileybury College)

6. Archie White (Harlequins, Epsom College)

7. Will Allman (Northampton Saints, Trent College)

8. Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby, Merchiston Castle)

Replacements:

16. Dan Frost (Bath Rugby, Filton College)

17. Oliver Dawe (Exeter Chiefs, Bicton College)

18. Jack Edmondson (Bath Rugby, Sherborne)

19. Tim Cardall (Northampton Saints, Moulton College)

20. Joe Craggs (Newcastle Falcons, Gosforth Academy)

21. Will Evans (Leicester Tigers, Wyggeston & QEI College)

22. Alex Mitchell (Sale Sharks, Lymm HS)

23. Darren Atkins (Bath Rugby, Millfield School)

24. Max Wright (Yorkshire Carnegie, Prince Henry’s)

25. Sam Aspland-Robinson (Harlequins, Welling College) 

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