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 media following the 31-33 West Country Challenge Cup defeat to Exeter Chiefs at the Memorial Stadium, Director of Rugby David Humphreys was full of praise for his side's battling qualities in a bruising encounter but concerned about the injuries picked up.
The West Country Challenge Cup fixture against the Exeter Chiefs at the Memorial Stadium in Bristol on Saturday (kick off 3pm) will be Gloucester's last chance to work on things like new combinations says Director of Rugby, David Humphreys.
Speaking after the 30-21 West Country Challenge Cup defeat at Bath, Director of Rugby David Humphreys spoke of the improvements his team are making as preseason progresses but acknowledges that there is still work to do ahead of the start of the Aviva Premiership.
Speaking to the local media ahead of Saturday's trip to Bath Rugby in the West Country Challenge Cup, front rower Nick Wood spoke of the hard work put in across the extended preseason and highlighted the competition for front row spots in the squad.
Gloucester have named a 30 man squad for the latest round of West Country Challenge Cup action against Bath on Saturday, with Director of Rugby David Humphreys stressing the need to keep an eye on player workload ahead of what will be a long, tough season.
Describing the 50-7 West Country Challenge Cup win over Bath on Sunday as a '...good hit out...', wing Charlie Sharples admitted that it had been a good opportunity to put into practice things that the squad have been trying out in training in recent weeks.
Speaking to the local media after the 50-7 victory over Bath Rugby on Sunday, David Humphreys was happy with his squad's effort, with the most important aspect being the game time earned by his players.
Gloucester make wholesale changes to the side that started at Exeter last Saturday as they prepare to take on Bath at the Memorial Stadium, Bristol on Sunday in the West Country Challenge Cup (kick off 3pm). The Director of Rugby told GRTV that the players are raring to go and that he's looking forward to seeing different combinations in action.