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England men U20s name team to play France

England men U20s name team to play France
England men U20s head coach Alan Dickens has named his side for their U20 Six Nations Championship opener against France at Stade des Alpes, Grenoble (kick off 8pm GMT).

The starting XV contains nine players who will make their U20s debut, with Richard Capstick, Rusiate Tuima, Sam Maunder, Manu Vunipola, Connor Doherty and Josh Hodge already capped at this level. George Barton and Jack Clement of Gloucester Rugby are named amongst the replacements.

Maunder will captain the side from scrum half, while Hodge is also included having been named as an apprentice in Eddie Jones' senior Guinness Six Nations squad.

Wing Gabriel Hamer-Webb will make his first England age-grade appearance, while Emmanuel Iyogun could do likewise as a replacement.

England men U20s are led by Dickens who is supported by James Tirrell (attack) and Alex Codling (forwards).

Alan Dickens said: 

"There is a huge challenge ahead for us on Saturday against a France side who are back-to-back World Rugby U20 Champions and they will be under pressure to perform in front of their home supporters.

"I've coached teams to play in France before and this will be a great experience for the players. It is usually a hostile atmosphere, they are hugely patriotic when it comes to rugby, and we are expecting no different in Grenoble.

"We need to have the ability to adapt, games of rugby are won by the team that can tactically adapt during the 80 minutes and that has been a big focus for us.

"Ultimately though you always have to go back to why we play rugby and that is for enjoyment and I want the players to remember that on Saturday night. If we enjoy it, get our processes right we will get the result.

"The attitude, skill level and commitment of the players in the time we've had together has been fantastic and I'm looking forward to seeing them put all that hard work into an 80 minute performance on Saturday."

England men U20s team to play France

  1. Josh Hodge (Newcastle Falcons); 14. Gabriel Hamer-Webb (Bath Rugby), 13. Connor Doherty (Sale Sharks), 12. Max Ojomoh (Bath Rugby), 11. Tom Roebuck (Sale Sharks); 10. Manu Vunipola (Saracens), 9. Sam Maunder – captain (Exeter Chiefs); 1. James Whitcombe (Leicester Tigers), 2. Theo Dan (Saracens), 3. Luke Green (London Irish); 4. George Hammond (Harlequins), 5. Ben Donnell (London Irish); 6. JJ Tonks (Northampton Saints), 7. Richard Capstick (Exeter Chiefs), 8. Rusiate Tuima (Exeter Chiefs)


  1. Ben Atkins (London Irish), 17. Emmanuel Iyogun (Northampton Saints), 18. Harvey Beaton (Saracens), 19. Hugh Tizard (Harlequins), 20. Jack Clement (Gloucester Rugby), 21. Jack Van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers), 22. George Barton (Gloucester Rugby), 23. Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers)

England men U20s Six Nations fixtures

France v England
Saturday, 1 February, KO 8pm GMT, Stade des Alpes, Grenoble

Scotland v England
Friday 7 February, KO 7.30pm GMT, Myreside, Edinburgh

England v Ireland
Friday, 21 February, KO 7.45pm GMT, Franklin’s Gardens, Northampton. Live on Sky Sports
Tickets: englandrugby.com/tickets

England v Wales
Friday, 6 March, KO 7.45pm GMT, Kingsholm Stadium, Gloucester. Live on Sky Sports.
Tickets: englandrugby.com/tickets

Italy v England
Sunday, 15 March, KO 5.30pm GMT, Payanini Rugby Center, Verona
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