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)
Speaking to the local media this week, John Afoa described the hard work that the Cherry and White have been putting in and that he is fighting fit ready for Saturday's European Rugby Challenge Cup semi final clash with Exeter Chiefs.
Gloucester Rugby face Exeter Chiefs this Saturday in the European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final, and Charlie Sharples, who starts at full back is relishing the challenge of the big Kingsholm occasion.
Gloucester meet the Exeter Chiefs for the fourth time in competitive action this weekend, this time in the semi-final of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. Director of Rugby David Humphreys told the local media this week that this is the sort of game that Gloucester want to be involved in on a regular basis and that he and his team are looking forward to it.
Following the 29-26 loss to Harlequins, club captain Billy Twelvetrees spoke of his disappointment that the Cherry and Whites were unable to cash in on the home side's indiscipline and lose a lead on Saturday afternoon.
Number eight Gareth Evans admitted to a collective feeling of frustration as Gloucester lost narrowly at Harlequins on Saturday, but insisted that there are plenty of positives to draw upon ahead of next Saturday's European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final at home to Exeter.
Gloucester travel to the Stoop on Saturday afternoon to take on Harlequins in the Aviva Premiership. The Cherry and Whites make just two changes from last weekend's win over Connacht as they seek consistency and continuity in their play as Nick Walshe told the local media this week.
Gloucester Rugby qualified for their first European final since 2006 as they defeated the in-form Exeter Chiefs by 30 points to 19 in a thrilling semi-final at Kingsholm on Saturday evening. The club photographer caught the best of the action.
Recent meetings between these two teams have often been thrillers, and this was no exception. It went down to the final few minutes, but Gloucester produced the goods when it mattered to qualify for the European Rugby Challenge Cup Final, beating Exeter 30-19.
Supporters who are still to purchase tickets for Saturday's European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final at home to Exeter Chiefs at Kingsholm (kick off 7:45pm) are reminded that Early Bird prices are only valid until 6:30pm on Thursday evening.