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England U20s announce 45-man training squad for 2020 season

By Alex Shaw
England U20s hooker Alfie Barbeary. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Fresh on the heels of confirming Jonathan Pendlebury and Alan Dickens as England U18 and U20 head coaches respectively, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) have announced a 45-man training squad for the upcoming U20s season.


The 45-man group will convene at Bisham Abbey on Thursday for a three-day camp, in which Dickens will attempt to whittle the group down to a 32-man elite player squad ahead of England’s opening U20 Six Nations fixture against France in Grenoble on February 1st.

Their schedule will mirror that of the senior side, with the team also facing away trips to Edinburgh to take on Scotland and Verona to play Italy, whilst they will host Ireland at Franklin’s Gardens and Wales at Kingsholm. From there, the age-grade side will begin preparations for next summer’s World Rugby U20 Championship in Italy, a tournament they uncharacteristically struggled in earlier this year.

Of the 45-man squad, eight have already featured for the U20s, with the likes of Alfie Barbeary, Ollie Sleightholme, Richard Capstick, Josh Hodge, Sam Maunder, Rus Tuima and Manu Vunipola among those returning for another shot at success. Barbeary, whose talent and prospects have long been talked about, featured for the group as an U18 whilst still at school last season, although his campaign ended in ignominy when he received a red card against Ireland for lifting a player and failing to return him to the ground safely. He will look to banish those memories over the course of his first professional season.

Sleightholme, Capstick, Maunder and Vunipola all bring a fair amount of Gallagher Premiership rugby experience to the mix and will provide leadership to what is a relatively young squad. They are not the only second-year players in the group, however, with the likes of JJ Tonks, Charlie Watson, Hugh Tizard, Barrie Karea and Ben Donnell all involved, despite not having been a part of a capped game in 2019.

The most represented Premiership clubs in the squad are Northampton Saints (6) and Sale Sharks (6), followed closely by Leicester Tigers (5), Saracens (5) and London Irish (5). The only sides with no representation are Bristol Bears and Worcester Warriors.

The final decision on the 32-man squad will be made in January.

England U20 45-man training squad in full:

Lennox Anyanwu – Harlequins


Alfie Barbeary – Wasps

George Barton – Gloucester

Harvey Beaton – Saracens

Joseph Browning – Leicester Tigers

Richard Capstick – Exeter Chiefs

Joseph Carpenter – Sale Sharks

Jack Clement – Gloucester

Phil Cokanasiga – London Irish

Tom Curtis – Sale Sharks

Theo Dan – Saracens

Connor Doherty – Sale Sharks

Ben Donnell – London Irish

Callum Ford – Sale Sharks

Thomas Freeman – Northampton Saints

Josh Gillespie – Northampton Saints

Josh Gray – Gloucester

Luke Green – London Irish

Gabriel Hamer-Webb – Bath

George Hammond – Harlequins

Will Haydon-Wood – Newcastle Falcons

Josh Hodge – Newcastle Falcons

Emmanuel Iyogun – Northampton Saints

Barrie Karea – Exeter Chiefs

George Martin – Leicester Tigers

Sam Maunder – Exeter Chiefs

Nahum Merigan – Bath

Chunya Munga – London Irish

Zachery Nearchou – Wasps


Oliver Newman – Northampton Saints

Max Ojomoh – Bath

Raphael Quirke – Sale Sharks

Sam Riley – Harlequins

Tom Roebuck- Sale Sharks

Fin Rossiter – London Irish

Oliver Sleightholme – Northampton Saints

Freddie Steward – Leicester Tigers

Oliver Stonham – Saracens

Hugh Tizard – Harlequins

Jarett Tonks – Northampton Saints

Rusitate Tuima – Exeter Chiefs

Jack Van Poortvliet – Leicester Tigers

Manu Vunipola – Saracens

Charlie Watson – Saracens

James Whitcombe – Leicester Tigers

Watch: Attack coach Scott Wisemantel leaves England. Australia up next?

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