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'He's got something about him': The unknown 20-year-old lock called up by England

By Liam Heagney

Trending on RugbyPass

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Much change was demanded after England limped to a desultory fifth-place finish in the recent Guinness Six Nations and a revamp is precisely what materialised when Eddie Jones included 21 uncapped players in the 34-strong training squad that will meet for five days next week in London ahead of a summer series where newcomers such as Chunya Munga of London Irish will be hoping to make a good first impression.

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London Irish don’t usually have players called up to the England squad, their youngsters instead moving on elsewhere and then making it on the international scene. Lions pick Anthony Watson is an example of this trend that regularly occurred in times past.

However, with Declan Kidney now making a concerted effort to ensure the Exiles keep hold of their youngsters, Jones has responded by calling three of their promising talents into his England squad – 20-year-old lock Munga, 22-year-old winger Ollie Hassell-Collins and 23-year-old full-back Tom Parton.

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The latter is the most experienced of the trio, Parton playing 36 times in the Gallagher Premiership. Hassell-Collins is next best with 26 appearances and then comes Munga with 13 appearances, six as a starter.

The Reading-born lock’s London Irish profile lists him at 120kgs but standing at just 6ft 5ins, yet England boss Jones sounded intrigued by what the age-grade international might bring to the senior England party next week.

“They have been doing well,” said Jones about the progress of London Irish nearing the end of their second season back in the Premiership. “They have got a nice balance between some seriously seasoned international players and some young talent coming through, but I think London Irish has always been known as a club to produce talent. It just so happened that most of them leave relatively quickly and this time they have managed to hold on to some of their talents and there are some good players there.

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“The young lock, we have been looking at him for a while, Munga, he has got something about him. I know he has been in the pathway teams but he is a big strong, athletic, physical type player so he is an interesting prospect for us.”

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'He's got something about him': The unknown 20-year-old lock called up by England

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