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England unchanged for World U20 final

England have named an unchanged side for their World Rugby U20 Championship final against New Zealand at Cremona Stadium tomorrow.

The game will be shown live on BT Sport and kicks off at 19.30 as England bid for a third World U20s title in a row, while New Zealand, already the most successful team at this age group, aim for a fifth title in total.

Despite finish second in the pool, England progressed to the semi finals as the best runner up from the three pools. It was at the semi finals where the showed just how good they can be though, beating the tournament favourites, South Africa, 28-20 with a display more dominant than the scoreline suggests.

New Zealand meanwhile finished top of their pool, though they did have a slight wobble against Argentina, before obliterating France, the side who beat England, 45-7 in their semi final.

None of the current England U20 side have faced New Zealand before, however the 2013 side beat them on their way to securing England’s first U20 World title.

Six of England’s starting XV for tomorrow also started last year’s final against South Africa. Captain Charlie Ewels was in the second row that day, as was number 8 James Chisholm, who is nominated for the Player of the Tournament this year, along with Tevita Li and Akira Ioane of New Zealand, as well as Australia’s Jonah Placcid.

Yorkshire Carnegie prop Paul Hill started the 2014 final too, as well as Nick Tompkins, Howard Packman, and Aaron Morris in the backline. Jack Walker, who starts at hooker, was also part of that matchday squad, he came on for the final twenty minutes of that 2014 final.

That leaves eight of the starting fifteen taking part in their first final. Completing the backline are James Mitchell at scrum half, and captain Charlie Ewels’ Bath and former Bryanston School teammates Rory Jennings and Max Clark at stand off and inside centre respectively.

In the pack Ellis Genge joins Walker and Hill in the front row, while Newcastle Falcons’ Will Witty partners Ewels in the second row. Either side of Player of the Tournament nominee Chisholm in the back row are Leicester Tigers’ Will Owen and Northampton Saints’ former St Joseph’s College captain Lewis Ludlum, whose unrestrained passion has been a real highlight of the tournament.

Speaking ahead of the game, England U20 Head Coach Jon Callard said:

“The squad performed heroically in the semi-final and they deserve another opportunity.  That is, however, unfortunate for the others who have been pushing and training hard.”

“I am grateful that I have 28 enthusiastic and energised players who want to give this their best shot whether on the field or by supporting the preparations of those who are. We were all pleased with the semi-final but feel that we left a bit out there. We were a little exposed at the end so there have been lots of key learnings from that game.”

“New Zealand are a very exciting and challenging proposition for us, they have a powerful squad who play with width and pace. We need to be strong in the set piece and smart in our game management. I’m hoping that it will be a great advert for the game as the boys look to show that they are the best in their generation at this particular time.

“To have the opportunity to test yourself against both South Africa and New Zealand within a week in Test rugby is both unique and a privilege.”

England U20 v New Zealand U20 – World Rugby U20 Championship Final – Cremona Stadium, 19.30 kick off (Live on BT Sport)

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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