Martin Haag has named an unchanged England side for the World Rugby U20 Championship final against Ireland tomorrow evening.
The two sides meet at the AJ Bell Stadium tomorrow at 19.00, having both come through in spectacular fashion in the semi finals, with England beating South Africa and Ireland beating Argentina.
Ireland reached that stage following a spectacular group stage that began with them 17-0 down against Wales before they eventually won that game a followed it up with a further two wins against Georgia and the reigning champions, New Zealand.
England meanwhile were in Group B and finished as the top seeds for the semi finals after big wins over Italy and Scotland and a narrow gutsy victory over Australia.
Player of the Tournament nominee, Harry Mallinder, is selected at fly half and will captain the side in the absence of Jack Walker. He has Premiership experience outside him in the centres in the form of London Irish’s Johnny Williams and Harlequins’ Joe Marchant.
Marchant’s teammate, Sam Aspland-Robinson, is selected on the right wing, with the Saracens duo of Matt Gallagher and Max Malins selected on the left wing and at full back respectively, though do not be surprised to see Malins step into the first receiver role on occasion. Yorkshire Carnegie’s Max Green, who scored against South Africa, completes the back line at scrum half.
Green’s Yorkshire Carnegie teammate Lewis Boyce is at loosehead, with Saracens’ Billy Walker at tighthead, and Worcester Warriors’ Jack Singleton continuing to hold the front in Walker’s absence at hooker.
Stan South and Huw Taylor continue their dynamic and bulky second row partnership, with a local hero at blindside, Sale Sharks’ George Nott. He is accompanied in the back row by Leicester Tigers openside and rising star Will Evans and former England U18 captain Callum Chick at number 8.
Speaking about the selection, Head Coach Martin Haag said to www.englandrugby.com:
“There were some tough calls to make in selection. The performance against South Africa was fantastic and because of that those guys have earned their places for the final game, we were really pleased with the impact off the bench too and are going to need that again in the latter stages of this game against Ireland.”
That bench is also unchanged, with Charlie Piper, Tom West, and Will Staurt again covering the front row, Andrew Kitchener set to come on in the second row, with the dynamic Jack Willis in the back row. The Gloucester pair of Harry Randall and Ollie Thorley are waiting in the wings in the backline, as is Yorkshire Carnegie’s semi final try scorer, Max Wright.
This will be England’s fourth U20 final in a row, having won the competition in 2013 and 2014, and reached the final in 2015. Haag said his side was looking forward to it:
“It’s going to be a great occasion and for us it is about focusing on delivering at the highest level, we need to execute effectively and do the simple things well. There is a lot of emotion around these games, which is why it’s important not to try and do anything differently in our approach. As always, we are aiming to get to a level of performance that we aspire to and we were very close against South Africa. The challenge for us is how we replicate and then improve on that.”
As for those who missed out on selection, Haag said:
“I’ve said it before, the players who are not selected deserve as much credit and recognition as those who are. Each week those players have given their all to ensure the squad is in the best possible place heading into a game.”
For those in the team, and out, they have seen what the players of 2013, ’14, and ’15 have done, some like Maro Itoje and Anthony Watson are already well on the way to being considered among the very best in the world. For some of those in action tomorrow night, that same statement could be applied to them before they may even dare to imagine.
World Rugby U20 Championship Final: England v Ireland – Saturday, 19.00, AJ Bell Stadium, Live on Sky Sports 3
England U20 XV:
15 Max Malins (Saracens)
14 Sam Aspland-Robinson (Harlequins)
13 Joe Marchant (Harlequins)
12 Johnny Williams (London Irish)
11 Matt Gallagher (Saracens)
10 Harry Mallinder – Captain (Northampton Saints)
9 Max Green (Yorkshire Carnegie)
1 Lewis Boyce (Yorkshire Carnegie)
2 Jack Singleton (Worcester Warriors)
3 Billy Walker (Saracens)
4 Stan South (Harlequins)
5 Huw Taylor (Worcester Warriors)
6 George Nott (Sale Sharks)
7 Will Evans (Leicester Tigers)
8 Callum Chick (Newcastle Falcons)
16 Charlie Piper (Harlequins)
17 Tom West (Wasps)
18 Will Stuart (Wasps)
19 Andrew Kitchener (Worcester Warriors)
20 Jack Willis (Wasps)
21 Harry Randall (Gloucester Rugby)
22 Max Wright (Yorkshire Carnegie)
23 Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby)
World Rugby U20 Championship Finals Day Fixtures:
Saturday 25th June
Final – Ireland v England – 19.00, AJ Bell Stadium
3rd Place Play-Off – Argentina v South Africa – 16.45, AJ Bell Stadium
5th Place Play-Off – New Zealand v Australia – 14.30, AJ Bell Stadium
7th Place Play-Off – Wales v Scotland– 16.30, Manchester City Academy Stadium
9th Place Play-Off – Georgia v France– 14.15, Manchester City Academy Stadium
11th Place Play-Off – Italy v Japan – 12.00, Manchester City Academy Stadium
|World Rugby U20 Championship – Pool A Final Standings|
|World Rugby U20 Championship – Pool B Final Standings|
|World Rugby U20 Championship – Pool C Final Standings|