London Irish’s Tom Parton, Josh Basham and Rory Brand have been named in the England U20 squad for their World Rugby U20 Championship opener against Argentina on Wednesday in Narbonne (kick-off 5.30pm BST).
Parton, who is playing in his second junior world cup in as many years, starts at full-back while Basham gets the nod at No. 8. Scrum-half Brand is amongst the replacements as England look to win the competition for the fourth time in six years.
Ben Loader has flown out with the party, the Exiles winger aiming to be fit for game two as he continues his recovery from an ankle injury sustained during England’s warm-up match against the Junior Boks a fortnight ago.
Following Wednesday’s fixture, England face Italy (3 June, kick-off 3.30pm BST) in Perpignan and Scotland (7 June, kick-off 8pm BST) in Pool B at Beziers' Stade de la Méditerranée.
Narbonne and Perpignan will host the semi-finals and ranking play-offs on 12 June, with Beziers hosting all finals day matches on 17 June across two pitches.
Head coach Steve Bates said: “We’ve had a really good period of preparation ahead of this tournament with a hugely beneficial fixture against South Africa and a training session with Wales.
“It’s really helped to focus the minds of the players and we’ve seen a further improvement in training ahead of our first match of the championship against Argentina.
“I want to see us play with a bit more patience on Wednesday, I don’t want us to lower our intensity, but if we play as we did during the Six Nations then we have the ability to create a lot of opportunities and we need to be patient in how we execute those chances.
“We know the importance of winning every game in this tournament, and we need to go out on Wednesday with a real intent to get this campaign off to a positive start.
“We have an excellent squad of players, every position is competitive and this is an exciting England team that I’m looking forward to seeing perform on the world stage.
“Ben Curry’s experience of being a Premiership forward is invaluable and he is a very competitive, professional athlete, as well as being a fine player, which makes him a great choice as captain.”
15. Tom Parton (London Irish)
14. Ali Crossdale (Saracens)
13. Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints)
12. Tom Hardwick (Leicester Tigers)
11. Jordan Olowofela (Leicester Tigers)
10. James Grayson (Northampton Saints)
9. Ben White (Leicester Tigers)
1. Toby Trinder (Northampton Saints)
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. Alex Seville (Gloucester Rugby)
18. Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers)
19. Sam Lewis (Leicester Tigers)
20. Tom Willis (Wasps)
21. Rory Brand (London Irish)
22. Marcus Smith (Harlequins)
23. Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins)
England U20 fixtures
England v Argentina
Wednesday 30 May, 5.30 KO BST – highlights on ITV Sport 00:00
Stade d'Honneur du Parc des Sports et de l'Amitié, Narbonne
England v Italy
Sunday 3 June, 3.30 KO BST - highlights on ITV Sport 23:00
Stade Aimé Giral, Perpignan
England v Scotland
Thursday 7 June, 8pm KO BST – highlights on ITV Sport 00:00
Stade de la Méditerranée, Beziers
Semi-finals and ranking play-offs:
Narbonne and Perpignan, 12 June
Beziers, 17 June