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Dickens makes six changes to England Under-20s

Dickens makes six changes to England Under-20s

Dickens makes six changes to England Under-20s

England Under-20s head coach Alan Dickens is eager to see further improvements from his side after making six changes to his starting XV to face reigning Under-20s Six Nations Grand Slam champions Ireland at Franklin’s Gardens in Northampton.

Sam Crean comes into the front row for a first cap, with fellow prop Luke Green returning to the starting XV, while lock Hugh Tizard starts his first game of the Under-20s Six Nations, as does flanker Josh Gray.

George Barton comes in at fly-half, while centre Charlie Watson wins a first cap for England U20s.

Among the replacements are uncapped Chunya Munga, Rob Farrar, Blake Boyland and Will Haydon-Wood who could all make first appearances for the side.

England U20s have won their opening two fixtures, sealing a bonus-point over France in Grenoble, as well as a victory over Scotland in Edinburgh and face an Ireland outfit who themselves have two bonus-point wins over Scotland and Wales.

Dickens said: “Friday sees us come up against a strong Ireland side who are also unbeaten in this year’s Championship and who are the Under-20s Grand Slam champions so we know how tough a challenge it is going to be. For us it’s all about building through the tournament and improving with each game and that is what I want to see.

“A feature of our opening two games has been the squad’s ability to be clinical and control the game at key periods, but also their spirit and we know that will be important.

“We’ve made changes so this is a great chance for those players to show how good they are and stake a claim for their rest of the Championship. We have some players unavailable due to club commitments so that is a great opportunity for them to get experience playing Premiership rugby and will no doubt aid their development as future senior professionals.

“For me to bring an England team to the ground I called home for over 10 years is an incredibly proud moment. I had so many highs here, most notably the Premiership semi-final win in 2014, and it’s special to be back so soon. The atmosphere that day was fantastic and I know the players are relishing being on home soil after two tough away fixtures.”

England men U20s side to face Ireland
15. Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers)
14. Gabriel Hamer-Webb (Bath Rugby)
13. Connor Doherty (Sale Sharks)
12. Charlie Watson (Saracens)
11. Tom Roebuck (Sale Sharks)
10. George Barton (Gloucester Rugby)
9. Sam Maunder (Exeter Chiefs) – captain
1. Sam Crean (Saracens)
2. Theo Dan (Saracens)
3. Luke Green (London Irish)
4. Hugh Tizard (Harlequins)
5. George Hammond (Harlequins)
6. Richard Capstick (Exeter Chiefs)
7. Josh Gray (Gloucester Rugby)
8. Rusiate Tuima (Exeter Chiefs)

16. Ben Atkins (London Irish)
17. Emmanuel Iyogun (Northampton Saints)
18. Harvey Beaton (Saracens)
19. Chunya Munga (London Irish)
20. Rob Farrar (Newcastle Falcons)
21. Blake Boyland (Bristol Bears)
22. Will Haydon-Wood (Newcastle Falcons)
23. Max Ojomoh (Bath Rugby)

England men U20s Six Nations fixtures and results

France 24-29 England
Scotland 17-21 England
England v Ireland (Friday, 21 February, KO 7.45pm GMT, Franklin’s Gardens, Northampton. Live on Sky Sports Mix. Tickets: englandrugby.com/tickets)
England v Wales (Friday, 6 March, KO 7.45pm GMT, Kingsholm Stadium, Gloucester. Live on Sky Sports. Tickets: englandrugby.com/tickets)
Italy v England (Sunday, 15 March, KO 5.30pm GMT, Payanini Rugby Center, Verona)