U18 Six Nations Festival: England and Ireland ring the changes for Wednesday’s clash

England and Ireland have named their sides for Wednesday’s U18 Six Nations Festival clash at Sixways Stadium.


Kicking off at 1.40pm the game at the home of Worcester Warriors will be televised live on FreeSports, as are all of the U18 Six Nations Festival games. England v Ireland will follow France v Italy and precede Scotland v Wales.


Just five of the England side that beat Wales 38-20 in the opening round remain in the starting fifteen for this one, with two of those changing position, as Head Coach Jim Mallinder shuffles his deck, as expected.


Up front Leicester Tigers and Brooksby Melton College second row George Martin once again captains the side but he has a new partner, Millfield’s Ewan Richards, who is promoted to the bench, with Dean Close’s Archie Benson swapping roles.


Benson’s schoolmate and Gloucester clubmate Josh Gray keeps his place at openside though, he is joined by Cranleigh’s Will Trenholm, who is promoted from the bench to number 8 in place of Nahum Merigan, and Felsted’s Ollie Stonham. The Saracens man makes his England U18 debut. Cheltenham College’s Jack Clement covers the back row from the bench.


In the front row Wellington College’s Fin Baxter keeps his place at tighthead, with Beechen Cliff’s John Stewart promoted from the bench to the starting hooker berth, swapping roles with St George’s College’s Sam Riley. St Paul’s Catholic College’s Luke Green meanwhile is promoted from the bench to the loosehead berth. RGS Newcastle’s Phil Brantigham again covers prop from the bench along with Hartpury College’s Jenson Boughton.


In the backline there are two players that started against Wales but neither stays in the same position. Beechen Cliff’s Orlando Bailey moves from 12 to 10, with Sedbergh’s Tom Curtis on the bench for this one, while Wirral Grammar School’s Tom Roebuck moves from the wing to outside centre. St Paul’s Catholic College’s Phil Cokanasiga is promoted from the bench to start between them at inside centre.


At scrum half St Ambrose College’s Raphael Quirke comes in, switching with Oakham’s Jack van Poortvliet, who is on the bench. Caterham’s Jude Williams comes in to fill Roebuck’s role on the left wing, while SGS Flton College’s Jack Bates comes in on the right wing. At full back is a third Beechen Cliff man in the team, George Worboys, who is promoted from the bench, Woodhouse Grove’s Joe Carpenter going the other way and now covering from the bench.


Speaking to www.englandrugby.com ahead of the game Jim Mallinder said of his squad: “We were generally quite pleased with the first outing against Wales but there are still lots of areas where we can improve as a team so that’s what we’ll be aiming to do.”


“In the set piece we didn’t get much ball in the second half so we’re working on that and we want to play with a bit more continuity and an attacking intent. We’ve watched Ireland, we know they are a quality side and were unfortunate not to beat France in the first match of the festival so we know we are going to have to play well and defend well.”


“It’s very difficult when you only come together for one-off games so it’s been great to have everyone together for a longer period and we’ve had a good build up to Wednesday’s game and feel we’re making good progress as a team.”


Ireland head Coach Peter Smyth has also rung the changes, making ten in total to the side that narrowly lost 29-24 to France last time out after a slow start.


Captain Alex Kendellen keeps his place at number 8, the Munsterman is joined by two Connacht flankers in the form of Donnacha Byrne and Oisin McCormack. The engine room is unchanged, with Leinster’s Alex Soroka and Connacht’s U18 Player of the Year, Darragh Murray, again packing down in the second row.


In the front row Ulster’s Oscar Egan keeps his place at tighthead, and clubmate George Saunderson comes in to join him at loosehead, Leinster’s Lee Barron comes in at hooker.


The backlines sees four survivors from that narrow opening loss to France, Leinster’s Chris Cosgrave stays at full back alongside clubmate Jamie Osborne on the right wing, while there is a new face on the left as Connacht’s Diarmuid Kilcommins comes in.


In the centres Ulster’s Ben Carson is again at 12, with Connacht’s Shane Jennings coming in at outside centre, meanwhile Munster’s Cian Whooley comes in at fly half, with Conor McKee of Ulster keeping his place at scrum half.


Speaking to www.irishrugby.ie ahead of the game, Peter Smyth said: “We’ll treat it as the hardest game and go from there. England had a very good win over Wales, but we’ll take the positives out of our game and look forward to training and preparing for England. The players have got to enjoy it and they’ve got to enjoy the opportunity and the challenge and just go out and give the best of themselves.”


“Once they do that the coaching staff will be proud of them and they can be proud of themselves. This is about learning, enjoyment and pushing themselves to be better players, competing against the best players in other countries at this age-grade.”


England U18 v Ireland U18 – Wednesday, 1.40pm, Sixways Stadium (Live on FreeSports)


Team News:



15 George Worboys (Beechen Cliff & Bath)

14 Jack Bates (SGS Filton College & Bristol Bears)

13 Tom Roebuck (Wirral Grammar & Sale Sharks)

12 Phil Cokanasiga (St Paul’s Catholic College & London Irish)

11 Jude Williams (Caterham & Wasps)

10 Orlando Bailey (Beechen Cliff & Bath)

9 Raphael Quirke (St Ambrose College & Sale Sharks)

1 Luke Green (St Paul’s Catholic College & London Irish)

2 John Stewart (Beechen Cliff & Bath)

3 Fin Baxter (Wellington College & Harlequins)

4 George Martin (Brooksby Melton College & Leicester Tigers, captain)

5 Ewan Richards (Millfield & Bath)

6 Ollie Stonham (Felsted & Saracens)

7 Josh Gray (Dean Close & Gloucester)

8 Will Trenholm (Cranleigh & Harlequins)

Replacements: 16 Sam Riley (St George’s College Weybridge & Harlequins), 17 Phil Brantingham (RGS Newcastle & Newcastle Falcons), 18 Jenson Boughton (Hartpury College & Gloucester), 19 Archie Benson (Dean Close & Gloucester), 20 Jack Clement (Cheltenham College & Gloucester), 21 Jack van Poortvliet (Oakham & Leicester Tigers), 22 Tom Curtis (Sedbergh & Sale Sharks), 23 Joe Carpenter (Woodhouse Grove & Yorkshire Carnegie).



15 Chris Cosgrave (St. Michael’s College/Leinster)

14 Jamie Osborne (Naas CBS/Naas RFC/Leinster)

13 Shane Jennings (Garbally College/Connacht)

12 Ben Carson (Wallace High School/Ulster)

11 Diarmuid Kilcommins (Coláiste Bhaile Chláir/Corinthians RFC/Connacht)

10 Cian Whooley (CBC Cork/Munster)

9 Conor McKee (Sullivan Upper School/Ulster)

1 George Saunderson (Sullivan Upper School/Ulster)

2 Lee Barron (St. Michael’s College/Leinster)

3 Oscar Egan (Coleraine Grammar School/Ulster)

4 Alex Soroka (Belvedere College/Leinster)

5 Darragh Murray (Colaiste Chiaráin/Buccaneers RFC/Connacht)

6 Donnacha Byrne (Summerhill College/Sligo RFC/Connacht)

7 Oisin McCormack (Garbally College/Connacht)

8 Alex Kendellen (PBC Cork/Munster, captain)

Replacements: 16 Tom Stewart (Belfast Royal Academy/Ulster), 17 Jack Boyle (St. Michael’s College/Leinster), 18 Mark Donnelly (CBC Cork/Munster), 19 Reuben Crothers (Wallace High School/Ulster), 20 Diarmuid McCormack (Clongowes Wood College/Connacht), 21 Will Hickey (St. Michael’s College/Leinster), 22 Ben Murphy (Presentation College Bray/Leinster), 23 Nathan Doak (Wallace High School/Ulster), 24 Harry O’Riordan (CBC Cork/Munster), 25 Karl Martin (St. Mary’s School Drogheda/Boyne RFC/Leinster), 26 Aaron Leahy (CBC Cork/Munster).


U18 6 Nations Festival Fixtures/Results (all live on FreeSports):


Matchday 1 – Saturday 13th April, Gillman’s Ground, Hartpury College


England 38-20 Wales

Ireland 24-29 France

Scotland 18-19 Italy


Matchday 2 – Wednesday 17th April, Sixways, Worcester Warriors


France v Italy – 11.10am

Ireland v England – 1.40pm

Wales v Scotland – 4.10pm


Matchday 3 – Sunday 21st April, Kingsholm, Gloucester


Scotland v Ireland – 11.10am

England v France – 1.40pm

Italy v Wales – 4.10pm

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