3 June 2017
Theo Brophy Clews returns to England Under-20s’ starting line-up, while Tom Parton retains his place at full-back for tomorrow’s World Rugby U20 Championship clash against Wales in Georgia (kick-off 5.30pm).
Reigning Junior World Cup and Six Nations Grand Slam winners England, who put Samoa to the sword with a 74-14 victory in their opening pool match, are set to face a sterner test in the shape of Wales.
“Wales always want to beat us physically as well as on the scoreboard, so I think the main thing that is going to come our way is a well-coached tactical team who are very motivated to beat us,” said England Under-20s Head Coach Ian Vass.
“Yes we did attack well against Samoa and scored some good tries, but I think there is more to come from the attack and defensively we weren’t happy with the amount of points we conceded.
“In training we’ve tidied some things up in attack and we need to make sure that we defend for the full 80 minutes.”
Backs Ali Crossdale and Dominic Morris have been ruled out for the remainder of the 2017 World Rugby U20 Championship through injury.
The Saracens pair sustained hamstring injuries in England’s win over Samoa on Wednesday and they will be replaced in the 28-man squad by Sale Sharks’ Paolo Odogwu and Bath’s Darren Atkins.
Vass paid tribute to Crossdale and Morris, who both scored a brace apiece against Samoa.
“It’s really disappointing for them, especially given the fact that it was in the first game as well,” said Vass.
“They both played really well in the game so it is a big loss to lose two very good, exciting players with talent and speed."
Odogwu and Atkins will arrive in Georgia ahead of England’s Pool A game against Australia on Thursday 8 June.
“It’s exciting for them,” added Vass.
“They’ve got a massive opportunity because they are going to have to play at some point. It’s also exciting for us as they are both very good players and will add a different aspect to our game.”
The game is show live worldrugby.org/highlights with the highlights on ITV4.
England U20s: 15 Tom Parton (London Irish), 14 Sam Aspland-Robinson (Harlequins), 13 Max Wright (Yorkshire Carnegie), 12 Theo Brophy Clews (London Irish), 11 Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins), 10 Max Mallins (Saracens) (c), 9 Harry Randall (Gloucester Rugby), 1 Ralph Adams-Hale (Saracens), 2 Henry Walker (Gloucester Rugby), 3 Ciaran Knight (Gloucester Rugby), 4 Jack Nay (Saracens), 5 Justin Clegg (Worcester Warriors), 6 Josh Bayliss (Bath Rugby), 7 Ben Earl (Saracens), 8 Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby)
Replacements: 16 Joe Mullis (Gloucester Rugby), 17 Ollie Dawe (Bristol Rugby), 18 Marcus Street (Exeter Chiefs), 19 Josh Caulfield (Exeter Chiefs), 20 Max Davies (Newcastle Falcons), 21 Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints), 22 Jacob Umaga (Wasps), 23 Will Butler (Worcester Warriors)
England World Rugby U20 Championship fixtures
England 74 v 17 Samoa: Wednesday 31 May – Avchala Stadium
England v Wales: Sunday 4 June - Avchala Stadium (5:30pm KO BST)
England v Australia: Thursday 8 June - Avchala Stadium (5:30pm KO BST)
Semi-finals and knock-out matches (Tuesday 13 June) Details TBC
Final and knock-out matches (Sunday 18 June) Details TBC