The England U20s have selected their 32-man squad for the upcoming Six Nations, with a 16-16 split between the forwards and the backs.
Up front, Leicester Tigers tighthead Joe Heyes returns for another season of competition at this level, as does Exeter Chiefs’ Marcus Street. The pair will compete for the three jersey, whilst Gloucester’s Olly Adkins and Worcester Warriors’ Kai Owen are set to make their debuts and will provide a similar competition at loosehead. At hooker, Bristol Bears’ Will Capon and Northampton Saints’ Samson Ma’asi have been selected, as well as Sale Sharks’ Nic Dolly, who is also an adept flanker.
Saracens’ Joel Kpoku – whose RPI of 69 already has him rubbing shoulders with some much more experienced players – returns in the second row, alongside fellow second-year players Josh Basham and Worcester’s James Scott. The trio will be joined by Northampton’s Alex Coles, who missed his final year of U18 rugby last season with injury. The back row options consist of Ted Hill, Tom Willis and Aaron Hinkley, all of whom featured for the side last year, with the group being completed by Exeter’s Richard Capstick and Bristol’s James Dun. If Hill is not retained by Worcester, he will be the sole member of the squad with a senior international cap.
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At scrum-half, Yorkshire Carnegie’s Ollie Fox will compete with Exeter’s Sam Maunder and Sale’s Gus Warr, where they will be providing service for Sale’s Kieran Wilkinson and Bath’s Tom de Glanville. Marcus Smith is also included in the squad, although it remains to be seen how much time he will get with the group during the Six Nations, with clubs given priority on player retention should they be in the mix for selection. Leicester Tigers’ Tom Hardwick also returns, with the fly-half having shown himself to be a capable operator at 10 or 12.
In the back three, London Irish’s Ollie Hassell-Collins, Harlequins’ Cadan Murley, Sale’s Arron Reed and Northampton’s Ollie Sleightholme make up the options on the wing, with Newcastle Falcons’ Josh Hodge the sole specialist full-back.
The group will be led by Steve Bates and Jim Mallinder, with Gallagher Premiership coaches Richard Whiffin and Mark Hopley also involved, as well as former Exeter player James Scaysbrook.
Olly Adkins (Gloucester), Josh Basham (Durham University), Will Capon (Bristol Bears), Richard Capstick (Exeter Chiefs), Alex Coles (Northampton Saints), Nic Dolly (Sale Sharks), James Dun (Bristol Bears), Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers), Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors), Aaron Hinkley (Gloucester), Joel Kpoku (Saracens), Samson Ma’asi (Northampton Saints), Kai Owen (Worcester Warriors), James Scott (Worcester Warriors), Marcus Street (Exeter Chiefs), Tom Willis (Wasps).
Tom De Glanville (Bath), Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints), Connor Doherty (Sale Sharks), Ollie Fox (Yorkshire Carnegie), Tom Hardwick (Leicester Tigers), Ollie Hassell-Collins (London Irish), Josh Hodge (Newcastle Falcons), Ollie Lawrence (Worcester Warriors), Sam Maunder (Exeter Chiefs), Cadan Murley (Harlequins), Cameron Redpath (Sale Sharks), Arron Reed (Sale Sharks), Ollie Sleightholme (Northampton Saints), Marcus Smith (Harlequins), Gus Warr (Sale Sharks), Kieran Wilkinson (Sale Sharks).
England U20 fixtures:
Friday 1 February, KO 19.15 GMT
Ireland v England
Saturday 9 February, KO 12.05 GMT
England v France
Friday, 22 February, KO 19.05 GMT
Wales v England
Friday, 8 March, KO 19.45
England v Italy
Friday, 15 March, KO 19.45
England v Scotland
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