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Six Nations opener sees England U20s hand debuts to 11 starters

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by Bradley Collyer/PA Images via Getty Images)

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England age-grade coach Alan Dickens has named a Six Nations team that includes eleven starters making their debut at U20s level. The opening match of the championship is against Scotland in Edinburgh on Friday and No8 Toby Knight, one of the debut-making contingent, will skipper the side.

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Right wing Deago Bailey, outside centre Tom Litchfield, scrum-half Tom Carr-Smith and hooker John Stewart are the four who are featuring in a second U20 Six Nations for the title-holding England who won the tournament with a Grand Slam last year when it was staged entirely in Cardiff.  

Loosehead Mark Dormer and tighthead Mikey Summerfield join previously-capped Stewart in the front row. Alfie Bell and Tom Lockett are named in partnership in the second row.?Alex Wardell starts at blindside with Kofi Cripps at openside.  

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Louie Johnson will start at fly-half accompanied by Ethan Grayson at inside centre. Ollie Dawkins plays on the left wing with Henry Arundell at full-back, rounding off the debutants. 

Dickens said: “We have had a really great start to our training week and the attitude and commitment from the lads has been outstanding. On Tuesday we had a joint session with Oxford University following our game against them in mid-January.   

“It is helpful to be able to incorporate that into our preparation for the Six Nations. Scotland will be a tough side to face but the boys have put in quality preparation and we are looking forward to getting out on the pitch in Edinburgh. 

“For many of the players this game will be their first Six Nations experience and that will be a very special moment; I want them to remember?that on Friday night and savour the occasion.” 

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ENGLAND U20s (vs Scotland, Friday)
15. Henry Arundell (London Irish, Caps 0)
14. Deago Bailey (Bristol Bears, Caps 3)
13. Tom Litchfield (Northampton Saints, Caps 2)
12. Ethan Grayson (Northampton Saints, Caps 0)
11. Ollie Dawkins (Wasps, Caps 0)
10. Louie Johnson (Newcastle Falcons, Caps 0)
9. Tom Carr-Smith (Bath Rugby, Caps 2)
1. Mark Dormer (Newcastle Falcons, Caps 0)
2. John Stewart (Bath Rugby, Caps 1)
3. Mikey Summerfield (London Irish, Caps 0)
4. Alfie Bell (Wasps, Caps 0)
5. Tom Lockett (Northampton Saints, Caps 0)
6. Alex Wardell (Saracens, Caps 0)
7. Kofi Cripps (Wasps, Caps 0)
8. Toby Knight (Saracens, Caps 0) – Captain

Replacements:
16. Jasper Spandler (Bath Rugby, Caps 0)
17. Will Hobson (Harlequins, Caps 0)
18. Robin Hardwick (Wasps, Caps 0)
19. Charlie Rice (Bristol Bears, Caps 0)
20. Greg Fisilau (Wasps, Caps 0)
21. Matty Jones (Gloucester Rugby, Caps 0)
22. Jamie Benson (Harlequins, Caps 0)
23. George Hendy (Northampton Saints, Caps 0)

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