England and Scotland have named their U20 sides for their opening U20 RBS 6 Nations fixture against each of at Broadwood Stadium.
England are the U20 champions and have named Yorkshire Carnegie hooker Jack Walker, in his third season as an U20 international, as captain. He follows in the footsteps of his brother Chris, who was skipper when England won the 2012 championship.
Walker is flanked by a pair of Wasps props, William Stuart and another of last year’s squad, Tom West, with former Old Swinford Hospital skipper Hugh Taylor in the second row alongside former Whitgift star Stan South.
South’s Harlequins teammate, the former Epsom College skipper Archie White, is at blindside, with Walker’s Yorkshire Carnegie teammate, and a fellow member of last year’s side, Josh Bainbridge on the openside. Newcastle Falcons’ Callum Chick, who captained England U18 last year, is at number 8.
The backline has three of Walker’s teammates from last year’s successful side, Saracens’ George Perkins is on the left wing , with Harlequins’ former Peter Symonds College star Joe Marchant at outside centre partnered by Leicester Tigers’ Charlie Thacker on his inside.
Joining Perkins in the back three are two of English rugby’s rising stars, former Cheltenham College star Ollie Thorley, who made his debut for Glocuester in lower sixth, is on the right with, with Mat Protheroe his Gloucester teammate at full back. The former Hartpury College pupil was arguably English rugby’s biggest schoolboy star last year.
The half back pairing sees Exeter Chiefs’ Joe Simmonds at fly half, with another Yorkshire Carnegie star, the former Woodhouse Grove man Max Green at scrum half.
The England bench sees Worcester Warriors trio Jack Singleton, Andrew Kitchener, and former Warwick star Jamie Shillcock all selected.
Sale Sharks’ Jake Pope is selected along with Exeter Chiefs’ Billy Keast.
Former Wellington College star Sam Aspland-Robinson and former Giggleswick flyer Taylor Prell are also selected, along with former Merchiston Castle number 8 Zach Mercer, who will be playing against his Bath teammate Adam Hastings, who starts at outside half for Scotland.
John Dalziel picks the former Millfield star in the ten shirt, with Hugh Fraser inside him at scrum half.
The experienced Blair Kinghorn is at full back, with Darcy Graham on the right wing and Harlequins’ Robbie Nairn on the left.
The centres see another Exile selected, Northampton Saints’ Rory Hutchison, who is alongside Tom Galbraith on his inside, he is one of twelve players in the squad having played for the U20s before, including the entire pack.
Leeds Beckett University’s Callum Sheldon is at tighthead with Murray McCallum at looshead, Jake Kerr packs down at hooker.
In the second row skipper Scott Cummings will add plenty of grunt and experience and is joined there by Andrew Davidson.
The backrow meanwhile sees Ally Miller at number 8, Matt Smith on the openside, and a star in the making, Jamie Ritchie, on the blindside flank.
On the bench Lewis Anderson, Adam Nicol, and Loughborough University’s Ben Christie cover the front row, with Callum Hunter-Hill looking after the second row. Scott Burnside meanwhile covers the back row.
Taking care of the backline are Charlie Shiel, George Taylor, and Ben Robbins.
Speaking ahead of Friday night’s clash, England U20 Head Coach John Callard said:
“The players have trained really well this week, they work hard for each other, and I’m encouraged with where we are at, credit goes to all the coaches for the progress that this group has made. The first game of any Championship is always tough, especially playing away in Scotland, but the players are excited about getting started.”
“We’re looking for them to use this competition to continue developing their all-round game. For example, we want functionally fit forwards who, as well as having a strong set piece, are ball handlers and good decision makers right across the field. You can always come back to a tighter game but we want players to see this as an opportunity to express themselves and enjoy playing for their country.”
Daziel meanwhile said of Scotland:
“We’ve got a big and experienced pack – all who were involved throughout last year’s under-20 season – and a wealth of experience at this level in the backline, so we’re excited about what the team has to offer. The players who have made the step up to under-20 this year have really added to the group and have shown they deserve their call-up.”
“The mantra of this team is winning in blue, and a strong core of this group have had the buzz of victory on home soil, which is a real positive, and adds to the sense of confidence in the squad. We’re excited for the challenge ahead, and hope to get a big and passionate crowd along to welcome us to our new home at Broadwood.”
The game can be seen live on www.englandrugby.com
15. Mathew Protheroe (Gloucester Rugby)
14. Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby)
13. Joe Marchant (Harlequins)
12. Charlie Thacker (Leicester Tigers)
11. George Perkins (Saracens)
10. Joe Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs)
9. Max Green (Yorkshire Carnegie)
1. Tom West (Wasps)
2. Jack Walker (Yorkshire Carnegie, captain)
3. William Stuart (Wasps)
4. Huw Taylor (Worcester Warriors)
5. Stan South (Harlequins)
6. Archie White (Harlequins)
7. Josh Bainbridge (Yorkshire Carnegie)
8. Callum Chick (Newcastle Falcons)
16. Jack Singleton (Worcester Warriors)
17. Jake Pope (Sale Sharks)
18. Billy Keast (Exeter Chiefs)
19. Andrew Kitchener (Worcester Warriors)
20. Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby)
21. Jamie Shillcock (Worcester Warriors)
22. Sam Aspland-Robinson (Harlequins)
23. Taylor Prell (Yorkshire Carnegie)
15 Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Rugby)
14 Darcy Graham (Hawick)
13 Rory Hutchinson (Northampton Saints)
12 Tom Galbraith (Melrose)
11 Robbie Nairn (Harlequins)
10 Adam Hastings (Bath Rugby)
9 Hugh Fraser (Heriot’s)
1 Murray McCallum (Heriot’s)
2 Jake Kerr (Boroughmuir)
3 Callum Sheldon (Leeds Beckett University)
4 Andrew Davidson (Glasgow Hawks)
5 Scott Cummings (Glasgow Hawks, captain)
6 Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh Rugby)
7 Matt Smith (Glasgow Hawks)
8 Ally Miller (Melrose)
16 Lewis Anderson (Ayr)
17 Ben Christie (Loughborough University)
18 Adam Nicol (Stirling County)
19 Callum Hunter-Hill (Stirling County)
20 Scott Burnside (Boroughmuir)
21 Charlie Shiel (Currie)
22 George Taylor (Melrose)
23 Ben Robbins (Currie)