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England name team for final match before U20 Six Nations

By Josh Raisey
Finn Carnduff of England takes on Baptiste Jauneau of France during the U20 Six Nations Rugby match between England and France at Recreation Ground on March 10, 2023 in Bath, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Mark Mapletoft and Andy Titterrell have made four changes to the England U20 starting XV that narrowly lost to Bath United last week to take on Oxford University in their final match before the U20 Six Nations.

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Three changes have been made in the pack, with Racing 92’s Junior Kpoku being promoted from the bench last week to replace Exeter Chiefs’ Joe Bailey, who in turn will start as a substitute. Captain last week, Saracens’ Nathan Michelow, drops out of the team completely, and is replaced at blindside flanker by Leicester Tigers’ Finn Carnduff, who also captains the side. The final change in the pack sees Zach Carr replace his Harlequins teammate Lucas Schmid at No8.

While there is only one change in the backline, with Gloucester’s Ioan Jones switching with Sale Sharks’ Alex Willis, there has been a lot of positional reshuffles, with Sean Kerr, Ben Waghorn, Toby Cousins and Ben Redshaw all starting in a different position to last week.

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The match at Iffley Road will be England’s final match before the U20 Six Nations gets underway, where they will be taking on Italy in their opening fixture in Treviso.

Looking ahead to the match, Mapletoft said: “There were a lot of positive spells and contributions from the lads against a tough Bath United side that have given us plenty of encouragement heading into Oxford and then Italy.

“We’re looking to really gel this squad away from the pitch and build momentum on it – we have an eager group of boys here that are keen to showcase their talents across a full 80 minutes.

“Rest assured, we as a group have put in a great deal of work at Bisham this past week aiming to match Oxford, who provided a stern test last year ahead of the Six Nations.”

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England U20 XV
15 Ioan Jones (Gloucester Rugby)
14 Toby Cousins (Northampton Saints) *
13 Ben Waghorn (Harlequins) *
12 Sean Kerr (Harlequins)
11 Ben Redshaw (Newcastle Falcons)
10 Rory Taylor (Gloucester Rugby)
9 Ben Douglas (Newcastle Falcons)
1 Cameron Miell (Leicester Tigers)
2 Craig Wright (Northampton Saints) *
3 Billy Sela (Bath Rugby)
4 Olamide Sodeke (Saracens)
5 Junior Kpoku (Racing 92)
6 Finn Carnduff (C) (Leicester Tigers) *
7 Henry Pollock (Northampton Saints)
8 Zach Carr (Harlequins) *

Replacements
16 Jacob Oliver (Newcastle Falcons)
17 Scott Kirk (Bath Rugby)
18 James Halliwell (Bristol Bears) *
19 Joe Bailey (Exeter Chiefs) *
20 Jack Bennett (Bath Rugby)
21 Max Blinkhorn (Nottingham University)
22 Kane James (Exeter Chiefs)
23 Josh Bellamy (Harlequins)
24 Malelili Satala (Leicester Tigers)
25 Ollie Spencer (Newcastle Falcons)
*denotes a player previously capped at U20 level

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