World Rugby U20 Championships: England shuffle the deck for Italy

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Coach Logic

England have named their side to face Italy in Perpignan in Sunday’s World Rugby U20 Championship second round game at 3.30pm (BST).


Head Coach Steve Bates has made 9 changes to the starting fifteen that defeated Argentina 39-18 in the opening Pool B fixture. England were given a real test by Argentina early on but pulled away in the second half and now have an opportunity to really give themselves some space at the top of the group.


Up front former Bromsgrove captain Henry Walker keeps his place, with Alex Seville and Joe Heyes coming into the side either side of him. Behind them former Denstone College second row Sam Lewis comes in to partner Joel Kpoku, who keeps his place.


Ben Curry continues to captain the side from the openside flank, with Josh Basham again at number 8. Tom Willis, younger brother of breakthrough Aviva Premiership star Jack, comes in on the blindside flank.


Basham is one of four former Wellington College pupils in the starting fifteen, with scrum half Rory Brand another. He comes in after coming off the bench last time out.


Brand’s half back partner is Marcus Smith, the former Brighton College star who has been a sensation for Harlequins this season and is unlucky not to be touring with the senior side.


Outside them are Will Butler and Fraser Dingwall, Dingwall keeps his place while Butler comes in for Leicester Tigers’ Tom Hardwick, who is on the bench.


Ben Loader, who has been training with the senior England side, is on the left wing. He alongside full back Tom Parton, the only member of the back three to retain his place, completes the former Wellington College contingent. Former Trinity School star and England U18 captain Gabriel Ibitoye comes in on the right wing. The Harlequins man was a nominee for player of the tournament last year.


On the bench Gabriel Oghre, Ciaran Knight, and Aaron Hinkley all come in and could make their tournament debuts on Sunday. There was sad news to come out of the camp too though, with Northampton Saints loosehead Toby Trinder ruled out of the tournament, Exeter Chiefs’ James Kenny comes in to replace him.


Commenting ahead of the game, Steve Bates said:


“Getting off to a winning start in this tournament is really important as it gives you momentum and confidence early on, what we’re looking for against Italy is an improved performance across the board. We need to be more accurate, to be patient and to play for longer as well as try and turn more of the opportunities we created against Argentina into scores.”


“Italy are improving all the time and will be buoyed by their victory against Scotland. They gave us a very competitive game in the Six Nations and we will not underestimate them. However, we also have to be very positive about what we have to bring to this match. There are some different combinations, the side we’ve picked is really exciting with threats all over the pitch and I’m really looking forward to seeing them play.


“It’s unfortunate for Toby who has made a huge contribution to our season and he should be very proud of everything he has achieved for England U20s over the past six months.”


England U20 v Italy U20: Sunday, 3.30pm (BST), Perpignan – Live on


England U20 XV:

15 Tom Parton (London Irish)

14 Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins)

13 Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints)

12 Will Butler (Worcester Warriors)

11 Ben Loader (London Irish)

10 Marcus Smith (Harlequins)

9 Rory Brand (London Irish)

1 Alex Seville (Gloucester)

2 Henry Walker (Gloucester)

3 Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers)

4 Joel Kpoku (Saracens)

5 Sam Lewis (Leicester Tigers)

6 Tom Willis (Wasps)

7 Ben Curry (Sale Sharks, captain)

8 Josh Basham (London Irish)

Replacements: 16 Gabriel Oghre (Wasps), 17 Ciaran Knight (Gloucester), 18 Ehren Painter (Northampton Saints), 19 James Scott (Worcester Warriors), 20 Aaron Hinkley (Gloucester), 21 Ben White (Leicester Tigers), 22 Tom Hardwick (Leicester Tigers), 23 Jordan Olowofela (Leicester Tigers).


World Rugby U20 Championship Round 1 Results:


Group A

New Zealand 67-0 Japan

Wales 26-21 Australia


Group B

England 39-18 Argentina

Italy 27-26 Scotland


Group C

France 26-24 Ireland

South Africa 33-27 Georgia


Group Standings:


Group A
Pos Team W D L BPs Points
1 New Zealand 1 0 0 1 5
2 Wales 1 0 0 0 4
3 Australia 0 0 1 1 1
4 Japan 0 0 1 0 0


Group B
Pos Team W D L BPs Points
1 England 1 0 0 1 5
2 Italy 1 0 0 1 5
3 Scotland 0 0 1 1 1
4 Argentina 0 0 1 0 0


Group C
Pos Team W D L BPs Points
1 South Africa 1 0 0 1 5
2 France 1 0 0 1 5
3 Ireland 0 0 1 1 1
4 Georgia 0 0 1 1 1


World Rugby U20 Championship Fixtures (All times BST):


Group A

Sunday 3rd June:

Australia v Japan, 1pm, Narbonne

New Zealand v Wales, 3.30pm, Beziers

Thursday 7th June:

Wales v Japan, 5.30pm, Perpignan

New Zealand v Australia, 8pm, Perpignan


Group B

Sunday 3rd June:

Scotland v Argentina, 1pm, Perpignan

England v Italy, 3.30pm, Perpignan

Thursday 7th June:

Italy v Argentina, 5.30pm, Beziers

England v Scotland, 8pm, Beziers


Group C

Sunday 3rd June:

France v Georgia, 1pm, Beziers

South Africa v Ireland, 3.30pm, Narbonne

Thursday 7th June:

Ireland v Georgia, 5.30pm, Narbonne

South Africa v France, 8pm, Narbonne


Semi Finals – Tuesday 12th June


Finals – Sunday 17th June

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