THE England Under-21 team for tomorrow's penultimate match of the IRB U21 World Championship was today confirmed by coaches Jim Mallinder and Dorian West - and both Ryan Lamb and Anthony Allen have been named on the bench.
Bath's Ryan Davis replaces Allen in the centre, while Newcastle's Toby Flood gets a start at stand-off in place of Lamb.
The match was originally thought to be against Ireland but the IRB has confirmed that England, who finished fifth behind New Zealand on points difference, will play eighth place Wales.
The match takes place tomorrow, Wednesday 21 June, at 17.00 in Vichy. It is preceded by Ireland v Argentina, who finished fifth and sixth after the pool matches. The winners of these two games meet in the final round on Sunday to decide who will finish in fifth place overall.
Mallinder has handed Matt Riley, Sale Sharks, and Bristol's Iain Grieve their first starts. "Matt came on for us against New Zealand and did a good job. Although Iain only got a few minutes against Scotland, his attitude in training and his performances for England Under-19s this year have been outstanding and he fully deserves this chance."
Davis will get his first chance of the tournament. Although he was not involved in this year's Six Nations, the Bath centre was an important part of the 2005 Six Nations squad before injury ruled him out of the Under-21 World Championship later that season.
Mallinder added: "It's a big ask to play five tough matches in 17 days and we're very lucky to have a fully fit squad to select from. We've had two very physical matches on the bounce so it's important to bring in fresh legs. We know that Wales will be another difficult match for us.
"The loss to New Zealand was our first defeat of the season and our goal for the two remaining matches is to keep that record. Nine wins from ten games is the best we can do now and that is what the boys are playing for," he said.
England Under21s: Mike Brown (NEC Harlequins); Topsy Ojo (London Irish), Matt Cornwell (Leicester Tigers) captain, Ryan Davis (Bath Rugby), Matt Riley (Sale Sharks), Toby Flood (Newcastle Falcons), Ben Foden (Sale Sharks), Alex Rogers (NEC Harlequins), Chris Brooker (Bath Rugby), David Wilson (Newcastle Falcons), Richard Blaze (Worcester Warriors), Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers), Iain Grieve (Bristol Rugby), Michael Hills (Sale Sharks), James Haskell (London Wasps). Reps: Rob Webber (London Wasps), Tom Mercey (Saracens), Chris Robshaw (NEC Harlequins), Jordan Crane (Leeds Tykes), Danny Care (Leeds Tykes), Ryan Lamb (Gloucester), Anthony Allen (Gloucester)
Previewing Friday evening's local derby at Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell told the local media that Gloucester's preparations have gone well and that the whole squad is united in trying to finish the season on a high.
Speaking to GRTV this week, Acting Head Coach Jonny Bell spoke of his pleasure in the efforts and intensity in training from the squad after a tricky few weeks. The team were preparing for big games with Bristol and Cardiff in coming weeks.
Willi Heinz was understandably and visibly disappointed when he spoke to GRTV after the 27-30 home defeat to Harlequins, apologising to the home support as the game slipped away after seemingly having the game under control.
Speaking to the local media this week, Scottish centre Matt Scott spoke of the squad's determination to put in a big home performance against Harlequins, with vital points up for grabs in the hunt for a Top Six spot this Saturday (KO 3pm)
Looking ahead to Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture at home to Harlequins (kick off 3pm), Head Coach Laurie Fisher told the local media that Gloucester will need to be on top of their game in a match which has big implications in terms of top six ambitions.
A big few days for the Gloucester-Hartpury Women side. First came the news that the team will compete in Women's Super Rugby next season, and on Saturday the team will play Worcester Ladies IIs at Kingsholm. Centre Hannah Jones and wing Michelle Ruddock spoke to GRTV this week to reflect on events.
In the aftermath of the Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell was able to look forward to this weekend's European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final against Cardiff Blues (Kingsholm, kick off 8:05pm).
Missing so many starters, and up against a team fighting for their Premiership existence, Gloucester did what had to be done at Ashton Gate on Friday evening battling their way to a 32-14 Aviva Premiership win over Bristol Rugby.