England have named their team for Friday night’s U20 6 Nations game against Wales.
England had a poor 6 Nations in 2016 while Wales won the Grand Slam, since then though England have won the World Rugby U20 Championships and beat France handsomely in their opening game of this year’s U20 6 Nations, making this a huge game.
England have made three changes to the side that beat France 59-17 last week. The headline change is that Felsted old boy Max Malins has been called up for Saracens ahead of their game against Worcester Warriors this weekend following his man of the match display against France, Wasps Jacob Umaga is promoted from the bench to start at fly half.
Elsewhere Harlequins’ Gabriel Ibitoye, a Trinity School leaver who captained England U18 last year comes onto the wing for Sam Aspland-Robinson, one of the survivors from last year’s World Champion side, and Worcester Warriors’ Justin Clegg, a key player in Bromsgrove’s back to back NatWest Cup winning run, comes into the second row in place of Saracens’ Jack Nay.
The rest of the pack is unchanged, with Nick Isiekwe partnering Clegg in the second row, Ollie Dawe Joe Mullis, and Joseph Morris remain in the front row, wile Tom Curry and Zach Mercer line up alongside captain Ben Earl in the back row.
In the backs Harry Randall is again at nine, with Will Butler and Max Wright continuing their partnership in the centres, while London Irish pair Tom Parton and Joe Cokanasiga remain at full back and right wing respectively.
There are plenty of changes on the bench, with Sale Sharks’ Curtis Langdon replacing Newcastle Falcons’ hooker Jamie Blamire and Gloucester’s Alex Seville come in for Sale loosehead Jake Pope, Ciaran Knight retains his place as back up tighthead.
Justin Clegg’s promotion to the starting fifteen clears the way for Exeter Chiefs’ Josh Cauldfield to start on the bench, while Bath youngster and former Millfield captain Josh Bayliss keeps his place on the bench along with Northampton Saints’ former Lymm High School scrum half, Alex Mitchell.
With Umaga and Ibitoye promoted from the bench to the starting fifteen there are a couple of new faces on the bench, Northampton Saints fly half and Moulton College leaver James Grayson, and Saracens’ former New Hall centre, Dominic Morris.
Speaking to England Rugby ahead of the game, England U20 coach Ian Vass said:
“We now have a platform to work from in this competition, however we have been fully focused this week on how we can improve against Wales on Friday. An important part of player development is adapting to win in different situations and Friday will be another test for this group.”
Wales U20 v England U20 – Parc Eirias, Friday, 19.15, Live on BBC 2 Wales (Sky channel 971, live on BBC iPlayer)
England U20 XV
15 Tom Parton (London Irish), 14 Joe Cokanasiga (London Irish), 13 Max Wright (Yorkshire Carnegie), 12 Will Butler (Worcester Warriors), 11 Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins), 10 Jacob Umaga (Wasps), 9 Harry Randall (Gloucester), 1 Ollie Dawe (Bristol), 2 Joe Mullis (Gloucester Rugby), 3 Joseph Morris (Worcester Warriors), 4 Nick Isiekwe (Saracens), 5 Justin Clegg (Worcester Warriors), 6 Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), 7 Ben Earl (Saracens, captain), 8 Zach Mercer (Bath).
Replacements: 16 Curtis Langdon (Sale Sharks), 17 Alex Seville (Gloucester), 18 Ciaran Knight (Gloucester), 19 Josh Caulfield (Exeter Chiefs), 20 Josh Bayliss (Bath), 21 Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints), 22 James Grayson (Northampton Saints), 23 Dominic Morris (Saracens).