World Rugby U20 Championships: 5 changes for England as they seek to confirm semi final spot


England face Australia tomorrow in the World Rugby U20 Championships, and a win would see them qualify for the semi finals as the top seeds at their home tournament.
England have beaten both Italy and Scotland in style, and having had a disastrous U20 RBS 6 Nations campaign where they only won once, they are now among the favourites for the U20 World title under the new stewardship of Martin Haag.


Haag has changed five players from the side that beat Scotland in such style, bringing in Saracens’ George Perkins for Harlequins’ Sam Aspland-Robinson on the right wing.


The other change in the backline sees Gloucester’s Harry Randall, who is still at school at Hartpury College, come in at scrum half for Max Green.


In the back Zach Mercer of Bath replaces Newcastle Falcons’ Callum Chick at number 8, with Lewis Boyce and Will Stuart getting starts at prop after proving hugely impressive from the bench previously.


Speaking to ahead of tomorrow’s game, Haag explained his reasoning for the changes:


“There is fantastic depth in this squad, there are some guys who haven’t had much game time and we’re trying to give them a little bit more, it is about the wider 28, we are all in this together, this is our third game in eight days and it is important we manage players as well as selecting a side which we believe can get the result.”


“This is a team that has a great attacking intent and who can score tries from a number of different sources. It is a team that is composed, enjoys each other’s company, who are proud to wear the England shirt and play at a level that they themselves aspire to.”


Haag has been impressed by the opening two rounds, but wants to see even more from his players:


“We’ve seen everything we wanted to see from the players in the first two games, we just want to be that much better, that’s our challenge collectively and individually. This is an opportunity to play against a world-class team in Australia and to test ourselves against their class and quality of opposition.”


“We are not focussing too much on other people or beyond the pool stages. It’s about the here and now and trying to get a good result against Australia. We know that we have to play at the highest level in order to do that. For us we’ll take it game by game in an attempt to progress to a level that we can be really proud of.”


England U20 v Australia U20 – Wednesday, 19.45, AJ Bell Stadium – Live on Sky Sports 3


England U20 XV

15 Darren Atkins (Bath Rugby)

14 George Perkins (Saracens)

13 Joe Marchant (Harlequins)

12 Johnny Williams (London Irish)

11 Matt Gallagher (Saracens)

10 Harry Mallinder (Northampton Saints)

9 Harry Randall (Gloucester Rugby)

1 Lewis Boyce (Yorkshire Carnegie)

2 Jack Walker (Yorkshire Carnegie, captain)

3 Will Stuart (Wasps)

4 Stan South (Harlequins)

5 Huw Taylor (Worcester Warriors)

6 George Nott (Sale Sharks)

7 Will Evans (Leicester Tigers)

8 Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby)


16 Jack Singleton (Worcester Warriors)

17 Billy Keast (Exeter Chiefs)

18 Billy Walker (Saracens)

19 Jack Willis (Wasps)

20 Josh Bainbridge (Yorkshire Carnegie)

21 Max Green (Yorkshire Carnegie)

22 Max Malins (Saracens)

23 Max Wright (Yorkshire Carnegie)


World Rugby U20 Championship Round 2 Results:


New Zealand 24-33 Ireland (Pool A)

Wales 10-9 Georgia (Pool A)

Australia 38-10 Italy (Pool B)

England 44-0 Scotland (Pool B)

France 46-14 Japan (Pool C)

South Africa 13-19 Argentina (Pool C)


World Rugby U20 Championship Fixtures:


Wednesday 15th June

Scotland v Italy (Pool B, Manchester City Academy Stadium, 15.15)

Argentina v Japan (Pool C, AJ Bell, 15.15)

Ireland v Georgia (Pool A, Manchester City Academy Stadium, 17.30)

New Zealand v Wales (Pool A, AJ Bell, 17.30)

South Africa v France (Pool C, Manchester City Academy Stadium, 19.45)

England v Australia (Pool B, AJ Bell, 19.45)

Monday 20th June – Semi Finals Day (Pool Winners and best runner up compete in semi finals, next two runners up and top two third place in 5th – 8th seeding games, three pool losers and worst third placed side in 9th – 12th seeding games)

 Saturday 25th June – Finals Day


World Rugby U20 Championship – Pool A Standings
2New Zealand10126


World Rugby U20 Championship – Pool B Standings


World Rugby U20 Championship – Pool C Standings
2South Africa10126
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