London Irish have four players starting for England U20s tomorrow as they take on Italy in their second fixture of the World Rugby U20 Championship in France.
Tom Parton, Ben Loader, Rory Brand and Josh Basham all get the nod for England, testament to the work of the Exiles’ thriving academy.
Loader returns from injury to occupy the wing, while Brand gets his chance to shine from the start having been on the bench in the opening match.
Steve Bates’ side take on the Azzurri in Perpignan (kick-off 3.30pm) looking to build on their 38-19 victory over Argentina, which gave England the perfect start to the competition.
“Getting off to a winning start in this tournament is really important as it gives you momentum and confidence early on,” said Bates.
“What we’re looking for against Italy is an improved performance across the board. We need to be more accurate, be patient and to play for longer as well as try and turn more of the opportunities we created against Argentina into scores.
“Italy are improving all the time and will be buoyed by their victory against Scotland. They gave us a very competitive game in the Six Nations and we will not underestimate them. However, we also have to be very positive about what we have to bring to this match.
“There are some different combinations, the side we’ve picked is really exciting with threats all over the pitch and I’m really looking forward to seeing them play.
“It’s unfortunate for Toby who has made a huge contribution to our season and he should be very proud of everything he has achieved for England U20s over the past six months.”
England U20s side to play Italy:
15. Tom Parton (London Irish)
14. Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins)
13. Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints)
12. Will Butler (Worcester Warriors)
11. Ben Loader (London Irish)
10. Marcus Smith (Harlequins)
9. Rory Brand (London Irish)
1. Alex Seville (Gloucester Rugby)
2. Henry Walker (Gloucester Rugby)
3. Joe Heyes (Leicester Rugby)
4. Joel Kpoku (Saracens)
5. Sam Lewis (Leicester Tigers)
6. Tom Willis (Wasps Rugby)
7. Ben Curry - captain (Sale Sharks)
8. Josh Basham (London Irish)
16. Gabriel Oghre (Wasps Rugby)
17. Ciaran Knight (Gloucester Rugby)
18. Ehren Painter (Northampton Saints)
19. James Scott (Worcester Warriors)
20. Aaron Hinkley (Gloucester Rugby)
21. Ben White (Leicester Tigers)
22. Tom Hardwick (Leicester Tigers)
23. Jordan Olowofela (Leicester Tigers)
England U20 fixtures:
England 39-18 Argentina
England v Italy
Sunday 3 June, KO 3.30pm BST - highlights on ITV 4 11pm
Stade Aimé Giral, Perpignan
England v Scotland
Thursday 7 June, KO 8pm BST – highlights on ITV 4 midnight
Stade de la Méditerranée, Beziers
Semi-finals and ranking play-offs:
Narbonne and Perpignan, 12 June
Beziers, 17 June