U20 Six Nations: England name side to face Italy | Starting XV unchanged from Round 1

England have named their side for Friday night’s U20 Six Nations encounter against Italy, kicking off at 7pm at Gloucester’s Kingsholm Stadium.


The match will be shown live on BBC iPlayer as England seek back to back victories after a thrilling and tense 41-36 victory over Scotland last time out.


Head Coach Alan Dickens has named an unchanged starting XV for that game, indeed there is only one change in the entire 23 as Harlequins’ Benjamin Waghorn comes in on the bench for Northampton Saints’ Toby Cousins, a current Oakham schoolboy who has called up to the bench late last week.


That means that Leicester Tigers’ Lewis Chessum again captains the side from the bench, with three of his Tigers teammates in the starting XV, tighthead Tim Hoyt, blindside flanker Finn Carnduff, and inside centre Joseph Woodward as England aim to overturn last year’s historic 6-0 Italian victory.


Also in the side is future Leicester Tiger Finn Theobald-Thomas, the Gloucester hooker is joined by fellow Gloucestermen Archie McArthur at loosehead, Danny Eite in the second row, and hat-trick hero v Scotland Josh Hathaway on the left wing.


Exeter Chiefs’ Greg Fisilau and London Irish’s Chandler Cunningham-South are at 7 and 8 again respectively, with Cunningham-South’s Exiles teammate Monty Bradbury again at fly half, with Saracens’ Charlie Bracken at scrum half and his clubmate Tobias Elliott on the right wing.


Sale Sharks’ Rekeiti Ma’asi-White is again at outside centre, with the elegant Sam Harris of Bath again at full back.


On the bench there are three Sale Sharks, Asher Opoku-Fordjour, Tristan Woodman, and Nye Thomas, alongside the London Irish pair Calum Scott and Afolabi Fasogbon. Leicester Tigers’ Robert Carmichael and Newcastle Falcons’ Louie Johnson complete the bench alongside the aforementioned Waghorn.

Speaking ahead of the game, Dickens said: “We can take many positives away from our match against Scotland, particularly from the first 25 minutes and in the final 10 when the team played with speed and intensity. While we lost the momentum early in the second half, I was really pleased with how the players wrestled back control to close out the match.

“The players are back in camp and have had a good few days of preparation. We’re now looking forward to our match against Italy at Kingsholm Stadium and will take a settled side into the fixture.

“All teams in this year’s Six Nations are quality sides. We saw Italy push France until the final whistle last week, so a full 80-minute performance will be needed against them on Friday.”


England U20 XV v Italy

15 Sam Harris (Bath Rugby), 14 Tobias Elliott (Saracens), 13 Rekeiti Ma’asi-White (Sale Sharks), 12 Joseph Woodward (Leicester Tigers), 11 Josh Hathaway (Gloucester), 10 Monty Bradbury (London Irish), 9 Charlie Bracken (Saracens), 1 Archie McArthur (Gloucester), 2 Finn Theobald-Thomas (Gloucester), 3 Tim Hoyt (Leicester Tigers), 4 Danny Eite (Gloucester), 5 Lewis Chessum (Leicester Tigers), 6 Finn Carnduff (Leicester Tigers), 7 Greg Fisilau (Exeter Chiefs), 8 Chandler Cunningham-South (London Irish).
Replacements: 16 Calum Scott (London Irish), 17 Asher Opoku-Fordjour (Sale Sharks), 18 Afolabi Fasogbon (London Irish), 19 Robert Carmichael (Leicester Tigers), 20 Tristan Woodman (Sale Sharks), 21 Nye Thomas (Sale Sharks), 22 Louie Johnson (Newcastle Falcons), 23 Benjamin Waghorn (Harlequins).

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