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)
Jonny May's superb late score capped a thrilling 40-32 European play-off win over Connacht on Sunday. The winger spoke afterwards of his team's character and spirit as he looked ahead to one more week of rugby.
Speaking to GRTV this afternoon, Director of Rugby David Humphreys hailed the 'never say die' attitude of the team, after despite not being at their best, fighting back to take a 40-32 win after extra time over Connacht.
Jonny May continues on the wing on Sunday as Connacht come to town, and the England wing explains to the local media this week that he is delighted with his form and is looking forward to taking on Pat Lam's men.
Speaking to the local media this week, front rower John Afoa is familiar with the challenge of Connacht from his time in Belfast, and the World Cup winner is fully aware of the challenge they pose ahead of Sunday's meeting in the Champions Cup play off
Speaking ahead of Gloucester's European Rugby Champions play-off against Connacht on Sunday (Kingsholm, 3:30pm), Director of Rugby David Humphreys admitted that he's glad to have more players available than in recent weeks ahead of a tough fixture.
Nick Wood captained the Cherry and Whites on Saturday afternoon, and the experienced front rower expressed his pride in the young squad in defeat to Bath on the final day of the Aviva Premiership season.
Lewis Ludlow scored Gloucester's opening try in the 30-50 defeat at Bath on Saturday, part of an impressive performance by the young back row forward. Speaking after the game, he paid tribute to the young Gloucester side who went toe to toe with the Aviva Premiership semi-finalists.
Speaking to the local media after the game, Director of Rugby David Humphreys gave an honest assessment of the game, and expressed his pride in the way his young charges had performed against the title-chasing hosts.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester Rugby scrum half Callum Braley is excited by the challenge of the West Country Derby, and the ex-Bristol man reveals the squad will be giving their all.
At the recent London Irish game, personnel from the Imjin Barracks in Innsworth, including Gurkhas, were present, holding a collection to raise funds for ShelterBox to aid relief from the recent Nepal Earthquake Appeal.
It was a thriller at Kingsholm on Sunday afternoon, as Gloucester snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, leveling the scores in the final minute before triumphing in extra time over a spirited Connacht side.