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Ludlum & Witty return for U20 semi final for England

England have named their side to face South Africa in their World Rugby U20 Championship semi final at the San Michele Stadium in Calvisano at 19.30 this evening.

England, who beat South Africa in last year’s final, sneaked through to the semi finals as the best second placed team from the group stages after a defeat to France in their final pool game, but will be heading into this game with every chance of victory.

Two changes are made to the side that faced France last time out, with Lewis Ludlam returning at blindside for his third start of the tournament, the former St Joseph’s College captain has been one of England’s top players so far.

The other change sees Newcastle Falcons’ Will Witty, in the Team of the Round after the first game, come into the second row for former John Fisher pupil Kieran Treadwell. He partners Charlie Ewels in the second row, with the former Bryanston pupil retaining the captaincy.

Speaking ahead of the game, Head Coach Jon Callard was full of praise for the two incoming players, saying:

“Lewis is an outstanding player and Will really imposed himself in the game against Japan, we are very pleased with him. They offer the physicality and athleticism that will be needed against a very good South African side.”

The Head Coach sounded positive about his side’s ability to recover after the French defeat, and expects them to bounce back well:

“It was a disappointing game but the attitude and bounce back has been first class, there is a renewed energy and ambition in the group and, while the format of this competition is demanding, it does mean that within a matter of days we have the opportunity to put right what we didn’t do against France.”

 “Every year is different, this is a new group of players and this is their chance to show what they are capable of. It is both a privilege and an honour for them to be in the same bracket as South Africa, France and New Zealand, but we need to put in performances that prove we have the right to be there.”

“We have watched South Africa extensively and they are a forward orientated side, with good half backs that can move the team around the field well, and they have an electric back three.”

“This is why we come to these tournaments – you want to play against the best, to learn and develop through challenging fixtures. We are excited about the proposition that is ahead of us.”

England U20 v South Africa U20 – World Rugby U20 Championsip semi final – Stadio San Michele, Calvisano, 19.30 (Live on BT Sport 1).

England U20 XV:

15. Aaron Morris (Saracens)

14. George Perkins (Saracens)

13. Nick Tompkins (Saracens)

12. Max Clark (Bath Rugby)

11. Howard Packman (Northampton Saints)

10. Rory Jennings (Bath Rugby)

9. James Mitchell (Sale Sharks)

1. Ellis Genge (Bristol Rugby)

2. Jack Walker (Yorkshire Carnegie)

3. Paul Hill (Yorkshire Carnegie)

4. Will Witty (Newcastle Falcons)

5. Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, Captain)

6. Lewis Ludlam (Northampton)

7. Will Owen (Leicester Tigers)

8. James Chisholm (Harlequins)

Replacements:

16. Jack Innard (Exeter Chiefs)

17. Sebastian Adeniran-Olule (Harlequins)

18. Ciaran Parker (Sale Sharks)

19. Kieran Treadwell (Harlequins)

20. Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs)

21. Will Homer (Bath Rugby)

22. Lloyd Evans (Gloucester)

23. Piers O’Conor (Wasps)

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