18 June 2017
Tom Parton retains his place at full-back, while Theo Brophy Clews is ruled out through injury for today’s World Rugby U20 Championship Final against New Zealand in Georgia (kick-off 3pm BST, live on ITV4).
Former Wellington College pupil Parton, 19, has had an impressive tournament and victory this afternoon would cap off a remarkable year for England following their Six Nations Grand Slam-winning triumph back in February.
Having lost five players to the senior squad before the tournament, a further five were ruled out of the tournament because of injury during the Championship.
And England Under-20 Head Coach Ian Vass paid tribute to the squad for their character during the past three weeks in Georgia.
“The great thing is that every player in this squad has played their part and contributed – it has been a real team effort and that is a credit to the character of the group,” said Vass.
England are looking to seal their fourth title in five years and are unbeaten in the tournament.
They sealed bonus-point victories against Samoa and Wales, before beating Australia in their final pool game. A late Mercer try against South Africa in the semi-final secured their path into today’s final.
“We have had a tougher route to the final than New Zealand, however tight games bring the best out of the players and the team, and we have shown how to come out on top,” added Vass.
“Throughout the competition we haven’t put too much pressure on winning and it has been learning as a group.
“Each team we play has different strengths and the team we have picked will give us the best opportunity of winning. It would be a fantastic achievement for the players to lift the trophy on Sunday and they are all excited to get on the field. “
England U20 team to face New Zealand
15. Tom Parton (London Irish)
14. Darren Atkins (Bath Rugby)
13. Will Butler (Worcester Warriors)
12. Jacob Umaga (Wasps)
11. Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins)
10. Max Malins (Saracens)
9. Harry Randall (Gloucester Rugby)
1. Ralph Adams-Hale (Saracens)
2. Joe Mullis (Gloucester Rugby)
3. Ciaran Knight (Gloucester Rugby)
4. Josh Caulfield (Exeter Chiefs)
5. Jack Nay (Saracens)
6. Dino Lamb (Harlequins)
7. Ben Earl (Saracens)
8. Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby) captain
16. Henry Walker (Gloucester Rugby)
17. Ollie Dawe (Bristol Rugby)
18. Alex Seville (Gloucester Rugby)
19. Justin Clegg (Worcester Warriors)
20. Josh Bayliss (Bath Rugby)
21. Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints)
22. James Grayson (Northampton Saints)
23. Paolo Odogwu (Sale Sharks)
England's 2017 World Rugby U20 Championship fixtures:
England 74 v 14 Samoa: Wednesday 31 May – Avchala Stadium
England 34 v 22 Wales: Sunday 4 June - Avchala Stadium
England 20 v 19 Australia: Thursday 8 June - Avchala Stadium
England 24 v 22 South Africa: Tuesday 13 June - Mikheil Meskhi Stadium
Final: England v New Zealand: Sunday 18 June - Mikheil Meskhi Stadium