By Mark Stevens
Exeter Chiefs duo Josh Caulfield and Marcus Street have both been named in England’s 28-man squad for the World Rugby U20 Championship taking place in Georgia (31 May – 18 June).
All but two players featured in England’s recent Six Nations Grand Slam, with Ali Crossdale and Will Evans the additions.
Evans, along with Sam Aspland-Robinson, Theo Brophy Clews, Zach Mercer, Harry Randall and Max Wright were involved in last year’s successful campaign when England lifted the World Championship trophy in Manchester.
Reflecting the success of the player pathway, it was England’s seventh final in nine years, and this summer sees the early progression of five young players – involved in the U20s this season – into the senior set up.
After impressing in the U20 Six Nations and for their clubs, Joe Cokanasiga, Tom Curry, Ben Curry and Nick Isiekwe have been selected by Eddie Jones for the tour to Argentina. Jack Maunder also receives a call up, having been named in the U20 Elite Player Squad at the start of the season.
RFU Head of International Player Development, Dean Ryan said: “Following the England U20 Grand Slam earlier this year, it is great to have five players earn places in the senior squad.
“The Six Nations showed that we have a large pool of young talent and that competition for places is high. We’re looking forward to seeing which players now take the opportunity to make their mark in the World Championship this summer as this group continues to develop.”
Ben Earl captained England in their wins over France and Wales before missing the rest of the Six Nations through injury. The Saracens number 8 is named alongside fellow back-row Zach Mercer who led the squad to victory in his absence.
Louis Deacon, Ian Vass and Tom Williams continue as England’s coaching team, having joined the management as part of a new agreement with Premiership Rugby in which club coaches lead and develop the U20s while gaining experience in an international environment.
Playing all of their Pool A matches in the Avchala Stadium, the reigning champions will open their campaign against Samoa on Wednesday, 31 May. Samoa have been promoted to the U20 Championship after winning the World Rugby U20 Trophy in Zimbabwe last year.
England will face familiar faces in their second fixture when they come up against Wales on Sunday, 4 June. The two sides recently met in the Six Nations, with England coming out on top as 37-21 winners.
Australia, who were in England’s pool last year, are the opposition for their final pool game on Thursday 8 June.
England U20 Squad for Georgia:
Ralph Adams-Hale (Saracens)
Josh Bayliss (Bath Rugby)
Jamie Blamire (Newcastle Falcons)
Josh Caulfield (Exeter Chiefs)
Justin Clegg (Worcester Warriors)
Max Davies (Newcastle Falcons)
Ollie Dawe (Bristol Rugby)
Ben Earl (Saracens)
Will Evans (Leicester Tigers)
Ciaran Knight (Gloucester Rugby)
Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby)
Joe Mullis (Gloucester Rugby)
Jack Nay (Saracens)
Alex Seville (Gloucester Rugby)
Marcus Street (Exeter Chiefs)
Henry Walker (Gloucester Rugby)
Sam Aspland-Robinson (Harlequins)
Theo Brophy Clews (London Irish)
Will Butler (Worcester Warriors)
Ali Crossdale (Saracens)
Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins)
Max Malins (Saracens)
Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints)
Dominic Morris (Saracens)
Tom Parton (London Irish)
Harry Randall (Gloucester Rugby)
Jacob Umaga (Wasps)
Max Wright (Yorkshire Carnegie)
England U20 World Championship Pool A fixtures, all live on ITV:
England v Samoa: Wednesday 31 May – Avchala Stadium (10am KO BST)
England v Wales: Sunday 4 June – Avchala Stadium (5pm KO BST)
England v Australia: Thursday 8 June – Avchala Stadium (5pm KO BST)
Semi-finals and knock-out matches (Monday 13 June) Details TBC
Final and knock-out matches (Saturday 18 June) Details TBC