3 April 2018

London Irish second-row Ben Donnell has been named in the England Under-18s team to face Italy in the second game of the Six Nations Festival at Cardiff Arms Park on Wednesday (kick-off 12pm).

The promising 17-year-old, who has made one senior appearance for the Exiles, is part of a side that sees 11 changes from Saturday’s 33-27 defeat to Scotland.

Hooker Samson Ma'asi skippers the side and is joined in an entirely new front row by props Lewis Holsey and Cal Ford.

There is a different backrow also with flankers Henri Lavin and JJ Tonks, as well as No 8 Rus Tuima all starting.

A new half-back combination sees scrum-half Callum Pascoe partnered by George Barton, with Connor Doherty coming into midfield.

Winger Harry Barlow and full-back Josh Hodge both start on Wednesday also.

England’s tournament ends against France on 8 April (kick-off 5pm) at Cardiff Arms Park.

Head coach John Fletcher said: “We’ve reflected on the Scotland game and we know we have to be better.

“The players were bitterly disappointed to lose, however often the best learning comes from defeat, especially at this age, and I expect us to be better on Wednesday.

“We have played with good attacking intent this season in wanting to cause the opposition problems and score lots of tries. There are a couple of things in our attack that could be better, especially our integration between high numbers and low numbers and from a defensive point of view we just didn’t problem solve in that second half against Scotland.

“This is a different group of players, we’ve made lots of changes to give all the players equal opportunities to play and are excited to see this team go and show what we’re about against a good Italian side who were really unfortunate to lose to Ireland in the last kick of the game.”

England U18s

15. Josh Hodge - Newcastle Falcons (Sedbergh School)

14. Ollie Sleightholme - Northampton Saints (Northampton School for Boys)

13. Connor Doherty - Sale Sharks (Kirkham Grammar School)

12. Will Simonds - Wasps (The Henley College)

11. Harry Barlow  - Harlequins (Cranleigh School)

10. George Barton Gloucester Rugby (Dean Close School)

9. Callum Pascoe - Newcastle Falcons (Gosforth Academy)

1. Lewis Holsey  - Worcester Warriors (Solihull School)

2. Samson Ma'asi - Northampton Saints (St Josephs)

3. Cal Ford - Sale Sharks (Sandbach School)

4. Will Montgomery - Newcastle Falcons (Kirkbie Kendal School)

5. Ben Donnell - London Irish (Peter Symonds College)

6. Henri Lavin - Leicester Tigers (Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth College)

7. JJ Tonks - Gloucester Rugby (Hartpury College)

8. Rus Tuima - Exeter Chiefs (Exeter College)

Replacements

16. Alfie Barbeary - Wasps (Bloxham School)

17. Bevan Rodd - Sale Sharks (Sedbergh School)

18. Jack Bartlett - Gloucester Rugby            

19. George Martin - Leicester Tigers (Brooksby Melton College)

20. Ted  Leatherbarrow - Sale Sharks (Kirkham Grammar School)

21. Rob Farrar - Newcastle Falcons (Sedbergh School)

22. Blake Boyland - Bristol Rugby (SGS College)

23. Reece Dunn - Gloucester Rugby (St Peter's High School)

24. Jacob Morris - Gloucester Rugby (Hartpury College)

25. Manu Vunipola - Saracens (Harrow School)

26. Jack Reeves  - Gloucester Rugby (Hartpury College)

Ad Space