England have named their team for Sunday’s World Rugby U20 Championship Final against France.
France are the host nation and will be heavily supported in Beziers for the 6pm (BST) kick off, with will be shown live on ITV 4, however it is France’s first ever U20 final while for England it is a record 6th in a row.
There will be a few demons for England though, they reached last year’s final and were defeated heavily by New Zealand, 64-17. 7 players from the matchday 23 that day are involved again this year, Gabriel Ibitoye is again on the wing with Tom Parton at full back. Ciaran Knight, who started that day, is one the bench, so too Worcester Warriors centre Will Butler, while Henry Walker was on the bench this year and starts at hooker this year. It will be a familiar feeling for Alex Seville and James Grayson, who are on the bench this year having been there last year too.
There is just one England change to the 23 that beat South Africa by a point in the semi finals as former Felsted star Ehren Painter comes in to start at tighthead with Leicester Tigers’ Joe Heyes moving to the bench, elsewhere it is unchanged.
That means Parton and Breathrough Player of the Tournament nominee Ibitoye are joined by fellow nominee Jordan Olowofela on the other wing, with Fraser Dingwall and Tom Hardwick again in the centres.
The half backs will be key against a strong French side, and in Ben White and Marcus Smith England have two of the very best, with Rory Brand and James Grayson available from the bench along with Butler.
Up front the side are again captained by Ben Curry, who will be hoping for a family double with his twin brother Tom starting for the senior side in South Africa. Ben is at openside with Ted Hill at blindside and Josh Basham at number 8.
Joel Kpoku is the only member of the England side to play every game and he completes the set with yet another start in the second row alongside James Scott, Alex Seville joins Walker and Painter in the front row.
Covering the forwards on the bench is the aforementioned Knight and Heyes alongside Beck Cutting, Tom Willis, and Aaron Hinkley.
Speaking ahead of the game, England U20 Head Coach Steve Bates said:
“We have a side packed full of experience and talent and I’m really excited to see them play on Sunday in the final of this great tournament, we know we are going to have to play well to beat France. In these one off games it’s about starting well, full of intent as well as keeping your composure and finishing strongly.”
“We’ve played France in the same stadium during the Six Nations and it was a great atmosphere and the players are relishing the opportunity to play there again cheered on by a proud and vocal group of England supporters.’”
“It is going to be a fantastic occasion, and a moment that these players will treasure and remember for the rest of their careers. I want them to go out and perform as well as we have done throughout the tournament, be patient with the ball and play high-intensity, high-tempo rugby.”
England U20 v France U20: World Rugby U20 Championship Final – Sunday 17th June, 6pm (BST), Beziers – live on ITV 4.
England U20 XV:
15 Tom Parton (London Irish)
14 Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins)
13 Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints)
12 Tom Hardwick (Leicester Tigers)
11 Jordan Olowofela (Leicester Tigers)
10 Marcus Smith (Harlequins)
9 Ben White (Leicester Tigers)
1 Alex Seville (Gloucester Rugby)
2 Henry Walker (Gloucester Rugby)
3 Ehren Painter (Northampton Saints)
4 Joel Kpoku (Saracens)
5 James Scott (Worcester Warriors)
6 Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors)
7 Ben Curry (Sale Sharks, captain)
8 Josh Basham (London Irish)
16 Beck Cutting (Worcester Warriors)
17 Ciaran Knight (Gloucester Rugby)
18 Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers)
19 Tom Willis (Wasps)
20 Aaron Hinkley (Gloucester Rugby)
21 Rory Brand (London Irish)
22 James Grayson (Northampton Saints)
23 Will Butler (Worcester Warriors)
2018 World Rugby U20 Championship Finals Day Fixtures (All times BST), Sunday 17th June:
Ireland v Japan – 11th Place Play Off – 10am, Beziers
Scotland v Georgia – 9th Place Play Off – 12.30pm, Beziers
Argentina v Australia – 5th Place Play Off – 1pm, Beziers
Wales v Italy – 7th Place Play Off – 3pm, Beziers
South Africa v New Zealand – 3rd Place Play Off – 3.30pm, Beziers
England v France – Final – 6pm, Beziers
World Rugby U20 Championship Results:
Semi Finals – Tuesday 12th June
New Zealand 7-16 France
England 32-31 South Africa
Wales 15-39 Argentina
Italy 15-44 Australia
Ireland 29-45 Scotland
Georgia 24-22 Japan
Wales 18-17 Japan
New Zealand 27-18 Australia
Italy 30-26 Argentina
England 35-10 Scotland
Ireland 20-24 Georgia
South Africa 29-46 France
Australia 54-19 Japan
New Zealand 42-10 Wales
Argentina 29-13 Scotland
England 43-5 Italy
France 24-12 Georgia
South Africa 30-17 Ireland
New Zealand 67-0 Japan
Wales 26-21 Australia
England 39-18 Argentina
Italy 27-26 Scotland
France 26-24 Ireland
South Africa 33-27 Georgia