U20 RBS 6 Nations: England & Ireland name sides for Kingston Park clash

England U20 and Ireland U20 have named their sides for Friday evening’s U20 RBS 6 Nations fixture at Kingston Park.


The 18.05 kick off, live on Sky Sports 3, sees Ireland looking for their first win of the campaign after defeats to Wales and France, while England are looking to build on the momentum of a big win over Italy after they had a disappointing opening round loss to Scotland.


Newcastle Falcons’ Callum Chick captains the side from number 8 at his home ground, and is joined in the back row by former Epsom College skipper Archie White, the only man in the starting XV who did not start against Italy last time out. The only other change to England’s squad sees Sale Shark’s prop Jake Pope come in for the injured Ralph Adams-Hale on the bench.


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


“Playing our home games around the country allows us to spread the message about the youngsters England have coming through the pathway.  It is great to come to Newcastle.  The squad are excited about the support and welcome they will receive at Kingston Park and we want to play a game that the spectators will enjoy.”


“It is a big year for U20 rugby in the country, with the World Rugby Championship to be held in Manchester in June, and for the development of this group through the Six Nations and into the summer, a wider squad effort is required.”


“We have been in camp for three weeks now and each week we bring 27 players in to keep a good base of players up to speed.  This gives them the chance to prove themselves and also understand what we are trying to achieve and how we are developing. “


“Unfortunately some guys then miss out on match day, but we want this to be a full squad effort with everyone involved working hard for each other.  This week, Archie has the opportunity to show what he can bring although, his inclusion does mean that Zach Mercer misses out.”


“Against Italy we put some nice patterns of play together, our game understanding was stronger and our game management was better, that improvement came about from having more time together and having the experience of a good hit out against Scotland.  We always said we would need that first game against Scotland to really know where we were at, and unfortunately we came up short that day, but rectified it the following week in tough conditions.”


“Against Ireland it is a different surface again.  The 4G means it is going to be quick game and we need to be sharp around the breakdown. Our defence must be solid and we need to know our roles and responsibilities.  In attack, it is simply about being clinical and taking the opportunities when we have identified them.”


Ireland, meanwhile, have made a number of changes to the side that lost to France a fortnight ago.


Stephen Kerins starts at scrum half after being on the bench for the opening two rounds, with Jack Power starting at full back, meaning Hugo Keenan moves to the wing, with Matthew Byrne dropping to the bench.


Conan O’Donnell returns to start at tighthead ahead of the injured Conor Kenney, with Ben Betts being called up to the bench. Meanwhile Greg Jones makes his debut at number 8 as Max Deegan is injured, while Will Connors returns on the flank.


There are a couple of players who will be familiar to the English crowd too, Ireland fly half Jonny McPhillips was one of Sedbergh School’s star players over the previous two season, while Brett Connon of Newcastle Falcons is on the bench at his home ground.


Looking ahead to the game, Ireland U20 Head Coach Nigel Carolan said:


“We were disappointed with the result in France last time out. We started the game well, but we let things slip away from us before half-time and never managed to recover.”


“Looking towards England on Friday, we are expecting a tough encounter in Newcastle. The English side made up for their opening loss to Scotland with a convincing win against Italy so we are prepared for them to be coming into this game full of confidence.”


England U20 v Ireland U20 – Friday 26th February, 18.05, Kingston Park – Live on Sky Sports 3.


England U20:


  1. Max Malins (Saracens)
  2. George Perkins (Saracens)
  3. Joe Marchant (Harlequins)
  4. Charlie Thacker (Leicester Tigers)
  5. Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby)
  6. Mathew Protheroe (Gloucester Rugby)
  7. Max Green (Yorkshire Carnegie)
  8. Tom West (Wasps)
  9. Jack Singleton (Worcester Warriors)
  10. Will Stuart (Wasps)
  11. Huw Taylor (Worcester Warriors)
  12. George Nott (Sale Sharks)
  13. Archie White (Harlequins)
  14. Sam Smith (Worcester Warriors)
  15. Callum Chick (Newcastle Falcons, captain)


  1. Curtis Langdon (London Irish)
  2. Jake Pope (Sale Sharks)
  3. Billy Keast (Exeter Chiefs)
  4. Stan South (Harlequins)
  5. Jack Willis (Wasps)
  6. Jamie Shillcock (Worcester Warriors)
  7. Joe Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs)
  8. Paolo Odogwu (Leicester Tigers)


Ireland U20:


  1. Jack Power (UCD / Leinster)
  2. Hugo Keenan (UCD / Leinster)
  3. Shane Daly (Cork Con / Munster)
  4. Jimmy O’Brien (UCD / Leinster)
  5. Conor O’Brien (Clontarf / Leinster)
  6. Johnny McPhillips (QUB / Ulster)
  7. Stephen Kerins (Sligo / Connacht)
  8. Andrew Porter (UCD / Leinster)
  9. Adam McBurney (Ballymena / Ulster)
  10. Conán O’Donnell (Sligo / Connacht)
  11. Peter Claffey (Galwegians / Connacht)
  12. James Ryan (Lansdowne / Leinster, captain)
  13. Cillian Gallagher (Sligo / Connacht)
  14. Will Connors (UCD / Leinster)
  15. Greg Jones (UCD / Leinster)


  1. Shane Fenton (Young Munster / Munster)
  2. James Bollard (Dublin University / Leinster)
  3. Ben Betts (Munster / Young Munster)
  4. Sean O’Connor (Cashel / Munster)
  5. Kelvin Brown (Shannon / Munster)
  6. John Poland (Cork Con / Munster)
  7. Brett Connon (Newcastle Falcons)
  8. Matthew Byrne (Terenure / Leinster)
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