With just a week to go before England U20s begin their World Rugby U20 Championship in Argentina head coach Steve Bates has been forced to make three late changes from his original 28-player squad ahead of the tournament.
Bates’ side travel to Argentina on 30 May ahead of their first pool game against Ireland on 4 June. They then take on Italy (8 June) and Australia (12 June) in Sante Fe.
Due to an existing injury, prop Marcus Street has been replaced by fellow Exeter Chief James Kenny.
Hooker Samson Ma’asi (Northamton Saints) misses out on medical grounds and is replaced by Will Capon (Bristol Bears).
The group includes seven players who have appeared in the tournament before with prop Joe Heyes, lock Joel Kpoku, backrow forwards Josh Basham, Ted Hill, Aaron Hinkley, Tom Willis and centre Fraser Dingwall all named in the squad.
“The U20 Championship gives them a chance to pit themselves against the best players in the world at their own age group in an international competition before heading into senior rugby, so is an important stage in their development,” said Bates.
“For a lot of these players it will be a unique experience to go to Argentina and play in a tournament of this stature and I know they will be relishing the challenge. They are very lucky to be representing England and will be looking to do their country proud and continue our successful history in the competition.”
England U20s are led by head coach Bates, who is assisted by Mark Hopley (forwards), James Scaysbrook (defence) and Richard Whiffin (attack) who join for the season as part of the coach development programme agreement with Premiership Rugby.
England were finalists in the tournament last year, losing 33-25 to hosts France. There were also losing finalists in 2017, but won the tournament in 2016 as hosts, beating Ireland in the final.
England squad for World Rugby U20 Championship:
Olly Adkins (Gloucester Rugby)
Alfie Barbeary (Wasps) – Bloxham School
Josh Basham (Newcastle Falcons)
Will Capon (Bristol Bears)
Richard Capstick (Exeter Chiefs)
Alex Coles (Northampton Saints)
Tom de Glanville (Bath Rugby)
Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints)
Connor Doherty (Sale Sharks)
Nic Dolly (Sale Sharks)
Ollie Fox (Yorkshire Carnegie)
Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers)
Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors)
Aaron Hinkley (Gloucester Rugby)
Josh Hodge (Newcastle Falcons)
Luke James (Sale Sharks)
James Kenny (Exeter Chiefs)
Joel Kpoku (Saracens)
Sam Maunder (Exeter Chiefs)
Kai Owen (Worcester Warriors)
Alfie Petch (Exeter Chiefs)
Cameron Redpath (Sale Sharks)
Arron Reed (Sale Sharks)
Tom Seabrook (Gloucester Rugby)
Ollie Sleightholme (Northampton Saints)
Rusiate Tuima (Exeter Chiefs)
Manu Vunipola (Saracens)
Tom Willis (Wasps)
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