Chiefs quintet named on U20s bench
By Mark Stevens
Five Exeter Chiefs plyers have all been named on the bench for England Under-20s ahead of their opening fixture of the 2019 World Rugby U20 Championship against Ireland in Argentina on Tuesday (KO 7.30pm BST - live on World Rugby platforms).
Forwards James Kenny, Alfie Petch, Richard Capstick and Rus Tuima, together with scrum-half Sam Maunder, all form part of Steve Bates' squad to face Grand Slam champions Ireland at CRAI Club - Santa Fe, before taking on Italy on 8 June and Oceania champions Australia on 12 June.
Fraser Dingwall will captain the side from outside centre with the starting XV containing six players who appeared in last year's World Rugby U20 Championship final in France.
They include prop Joe Heyes, who is joined in the front row by Olly Adkins and hooker Nic Dolly. Joel Kpoku is partnered at lock by Alex Coles, while Ted Hill, Aaron Hinkley and number 8 Tom Willis form an experienced back row at U20 level.
Dingwall is joined in midfield by Cameron Redpath with Ollie Fox and Manu Vunipola forming England's half-back pairing. Wings Ollie Sleightholme and Tom Seabrook, as well as full back Tom de Glanville make up the back three for England.
England U20s have a proud record in the competition, reaching the last six consecutive finals and winning the Championship three times, with the last success coming on home soil in 2016.
Of the replacements, hooker Will Capon and prop Kenny could make their England U20s debuts.
This year's Championship will see a World Rugby trial, with all 28 squad members available to be used as one of the eight permitted replacements on matchday.
Bates said: “The key element is that we are playing the side that won the U20 Six Nations so we know it is going to be a big challenge and we have got to be right at the top of our game. We have to be accurate, we have to be patient and understand that if we don’t play to the best of our ability then this will be a very tough game and even if we do, we realise it will still be tight.
“The players are in really good shape, having now spent a fair amount of time with each other they have gelled extremely well and look to be a tight group and we hope that will translate to a good performance on Tuesday.
“A big factor for us is going to be the experience of our pack, a lot have played in the Premiership already, they have played a lot at U20 level and also in this tournament so they are battle hardened. Having said that we are not going to play a game dominated by our forwards because we have some very exciting and talented backs but we recognise up front will be an area where we can exert some pressure.
“Fraser is another seasoned campaigner, having also played in this tournament last year and he’s played some senior Premiership rugby as well so has developed well as a player over the past six months. He is extremely level headed, has an astute rugby brain and is well respected by the other players so he is an obvious choice for us to be captain. Along with the rest of our leadership group we expect them to contribute at key times and in key moments.”
England U20s v Ireland
15. Tom de Glanville (Bath Rugby)
14. Ollie Sleightholme (Northampton Saints)
13. Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints, capt)
12. Cameron Redpath (Sale Sharks)
11. Tom Seabrook (Gloucester Rugby)
10. Manu Vunipola (Saracens)
9. Ollie Fox (Bath Rugby)
1. Olly Adkins (Gloucester Rugby)
2. Nic Dolly (Sale Sharks)
3. Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers)
4. Joel Kpoku (Saracens)
5. Alex Coles (Northampton Saints)
6. Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors)
7. Aaron Hinkley (Gloucester Rugby)
8. Tom Willis (Wasps)
16. Alfie Barbeary (Wasps)
17. Kai Owen (Worcester Warriors)
18. Alfie Petch (Exeter Chiefs)
19. Will Capon (Bristol Bears)
20. James Kenny (Exeter Chiefs)
21. Richard Capstick (Exeter Chiefs)
22. Rusiate Tuima (Exeter Chiefs)
23. Josh Basham (Newcastle Falcons)
24. Sam Maunder (Exeter Chiefs)
25. Luke James (Sale Sharks)
26. Connor Doherty (Sale Sharks)
27. Arron Reed (Sale Sharks)
28. Josh Hodge (Newcastle Falcons)
England U20 fixtures
4 June: England U20s v Ireland U20s (KO 7.30pm BST), live on World Rugby platforms.
8 June: England U20s v Italy U20s (KO 7.30pm BST), live on World Rugby platforms.
12 June: England U20s v Australia U20s (KO 7.30pm BST), live on World Rugby platforms.
Knockout stages on Monday, 17 June and finals day on Saturday, 22 June, live on ITV.