England have named their side form Friday night’s U20 Six Nations encounter against Wales at Gloucester’s Kingsholm Stadium.
The 7.45pm kick off, shown live on Sky Sports Action and Sky Sports Mix, is one of just two games going ahead this round, Scotland v France being the other, after all games between Ireland and Italy were postponed as a result of the coronavirus.
England U20 Head Coach Alan Dickens have made four changes to the side that lost out to Ireland back in Round 3, a result that leaves Ireland still on course for back to back Grand Slams.
Two of the changes come in the front row, where Sale Sharks’ Cal Ford makes his debut at tighthead and Northampton Saints’ Emmanuel Iyogun his first star at loosehead. Between them there is good experience though, Saracens’ Theo Dan is set for his fourth start of the tournament.
There is a third change in the forwards where former Sedbergh man Rob Farrar of Newcastle Falcons comes in at blindside to join the Exeter Chiefs pair of Richard Capstick and Rus Tuima. In the second row Dickens once again goes for the all Harlequins pairing of Hugh Tizard, once of Cranliegh, and George Hammond, the former Whitgift star.
There is one change in the backs as Max Ojomoh of Bath comes in at twelve. There is big news for his centre partner Connor Doherty though, the Sale Sharks man takes over the captaincy from Exeter Chiefs scrum half Sam Maunder, whose brother Jack was called into the England squad last week.
Alongside Maunder is Gloucester fly half George Barton, while the back three once again sees Bath’s Gabriel Hamer-Webb and Sale Sharks’ Tom Roebuck either side of Leicester Tigers full back Freddie Steward.
There are plenty of changes on the bench, with three players in line to make their debuts, Harlequins hooker Sam Riley, Bristol Bears second row Alex Groves, and Northampton Saints winger Josh Gillespie. They join Saracens pair Sam Crean and Harvey Beaton as well as Gloucester’s Jack Clement, with Leicester Tigers’ Jack van Poortvliet and Newcastle Falcons’ Will Haydon-Wood the other backline replacements alongside Gillespie.
Speaking to www.englandrugby.com ahead of the game, Alan Dickens said:
“We were frustrated with the defeat to Ireland in round three, but it’s a learning experience for the players and that is a focus for us. We have to learn the lessons and respond against Wales, who will no doubt also be tough opponents.”
“For me, Kingsholm was one of the best places to come and play and we’re looking forward to being back on home soil in front of knowledgeable fans who will no doubt be vociferous in their support, which makes a huge difference to the players.”
“We have several players involved in the Premiership this weekend and that is great experience for them, but in turn gives others in our squad an opportunity to show how good they are.”
“We’ve named Connor as captain this week as we want to grow the leadership group which we know will be useful heading into the World Rugby U20 Championship in July. He is well respected in the group, experienced at this level and one of those players who will lead by example.“
“My message to the squad will be to enjoy the experience, learn the lessons from Ireland and put a performance in that they are proud of and that reflects how hard they have worked this week.”
England U20 XV v Wales – Kingsholm, Friday, 7.45pm (Live on Sky Sports Action)
15 Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers), 14 Gabriel Hamer-Webb (Bath), 13 Connor Doherty (Sale Sharks, captain), 12 Max Ojomoh (Bath), 11 Tom Roebuck (Sale Sharks), 10 George Barton (Gloucester), 9 Sam Maunder (Exeter Chiefs), 1 Emmanuel Iyogun (Northampton Saints), 2 Theo Dan (Saracens), 3 Cal Ford (Sale Sharks), 4 Hugh Tizard (Harlequins), 5 George Hammond (Harlequins), 6 Rob Farrar (Newcastle Falcons), 7 Richard Capstick (Exeter Chiefs), 8 Rus Tuima (Exeter Chiefs).
Replacements: 16 Sam Riley (Harlequins), 17 Sam Crean (Saracens), 18 Harvey Beaton (Saracens), 19 Alex Groves (Bristol Bears), 20 Jack Clement (Gloucester), 21 Jack Van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers), 22 Will Haydon-Wood (Newcastle Falcons), 23 Josh Gillespie (Northampton Saints).
France 24-29 England
Ireland 38-26 Scotland
Wales 7-17 Italy
France 31-19 Italy
Ireland 36-22 Wales
Scotland 17-21 England
England 21-39 Ireland
Italy 29-30 Scotland
Wales 14-11 France