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Mapletoft names England U20s team showing 12 changes to face Fiji

By Liam Heagney
England players sing the anthem before playing Argentina last Saturday (Photo by Thinus Maritz/World Rugby)

Six Nations U20s champions England have hugely reshuffled their team for match day two at the World Rugby U20 Championship, unveiling 12 changes to their starting XV to take on Fiji on Thursday in Athlone.

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The English were impressive 40-21 comeback winners over Argentina on opening day at the Championship last Saturday and coach Mark Mapletoft has now decided to rotate his team for their second outing with skipper Finn Carnduff, Ollie Allan and Oli Spencer their three repeat picks.

A statement read: “Head coach Mark Mapletoft and assistant coach Andy Titterrell have named their England U20 men’s squad to face Fiji on match day two of the 2024 World Rugby U20 Championship.

“England opened their account at the tournament with a 41-20 victory over Argentina, where debutant Jack Bracken became the second England U20 men’s player to secure a hat-trick in the tournament after Jonny May in 2010.

“Captain Finn Carnduff led the U20s in Saturday’s victory, and alongside Leicester Tigers clubmate Ollie Allan and Newcastle Falcons’ Oli Spencer, he retains his place in the starting XV showing 12 changes.

Fixture
World Rugby U20 Championship
England U20
48 - 11
Full-time
Fiji U20
All Stats and Data

“First starts are awarded to Cam Miell (Leicester Tigers), Kane James (Exeter Chiefs), Arthur Green (Bath Rugby), Ben Coen (Exeter Chiefs) and Angus Hall (Saracens), with Green and Hall also set to earn their maiden competitive caps this Thursday.

“Mapletoft and Titterrell can call upon experienced energisers from the bench with a cumulative 58 U20 caps. All eight replacements gained recent game time in the victory over Los Pumitas.

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“England’s only two previous U20 meetings with Fiji came 15 years apart, with the most recent encounter arriving in 2023 when current U20 member Nathan Michelow crossed for one of eight tries in a 53-7 triumph. The first encounter back in 2008 saw Alex Goode contribute 16 points to a 41-17 win when current head coach Mark Mapletoft was also in charge.”

Mapletoft said: “Argentina was an incredibly demanding opening fixture to start the tournament with, and the team met those tasks and answered the questions posed to them. We believe it’s right to balance the game time throughout the squad, particularly with the quick turnaround between matchdays.

“It’s a testament to the hard work on and off the pitch that we came through Saturday with a full squad to choose from ahead of Thursday’s game. Our staff all share a lot of excitement to see these players grab their chance and capitalise on the momentum created from match day one.

“There were many game-changing outputs from players across the matchday squad last time out, and with our consistency in preparation, I have every confidence that will translate into a largely new group that are eager to stake their claim.”

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England U20s (vs Fiji, Thursday)
15. Ioan Jones (Gloucester Rugby, Minchinhampton RFC, 5 caps)
14. Toby Cousins (Northampton Saints, Bugbrooke RFC, 6 caps)
13. Ben Waghorn (Harlequins, Chipstead Rugby Club, 7 caps)
12. Oli Spencer (Newcastle Falcons, Epping Rams Rugby, 6 caps)
11. Angus Hall (Saracens, Sevenoaks Rugby Club, uncapped)
10. Benjamin Coen (Exeter Chiefs, Teignmouth RFC, 1 cap)
9. Ollie Allan (Leicester Tigers, Hungerford RFC, 1 cap)
1. Cameron Miell (Leicester Tigers, Paul Roos, 1 cap)
2. James Isaacs (Saracens, Hemel Hempstead Camelot RFC, 4 caps)
3. James Halliwell (Bristol Bears, Thornbury RFC, 10 caps)
4. Harvey Cuckson (Bath Rugby, Mold RFC, 2 caps)
5. Olamide Sodeke (Saracens, Blackheath Rugby Club, 5 caps)
6. Finn Carnduff (capt) (Leicester Tigers, Market Harborough RFC, 16 caps)
7. Kane James (Exeter Chiefs, St Peters RFC, 5 caps)
8. Arthur Green (Bath Rugby, Frome RFC, uncapped)

Replacements:
16. Craig Wright (Northampton Saints, Braintree Rugby Club, 6 caps)
17. Asher Opoku-Fordjour (Sale Sharks, Broadstreet RFC, 15 caps)
18. Afolabi Fasogbon (Gloucester Rugby, Bishop Wand School, 12 caps)
19. Junior Kpoku (Racing 92, Saracens Amateurs, 5 caps)
20. Henry Pollock (Northampton Saints, Buckingham Rugby Club, 6 caps)
21. Lucas Friday (Harlequins, Bromley RFC, 1 cap)
22. Josh Bellamy (Harlequins, Rosslyn Park, 5 caps)
23. Alex Wills (Sale Sharks, Droitwich Rugby Club, 8 caps)

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