Five in U20s squad for Junior World Cup
By Mark Stevens
Five Exeter Chiefs players form part of England’s 28-man squad for the 2019 World Rugby U20 Championship in Argentina.
Richard Capstick, Sam Maunder, Alfie Petch, Marcus Street and Rus Tuima have all been selected by head coach for the tournament, which takes place between June 4-22.
Tight-head prop Street is one of nine players who have appeared in the tournament before. He was part of the England squad who reached the 2017 final in Georgia, while prop Joe Heyes, lock Joel Kpoku, back-row forwards Josh Basham, Ted Hill, Aaron Hinkley, Tom Willis, fly-half Marcus Smith and centre Fraser Dingwall played in last year's final against France.
The cities of Rosario and Santa Fe will play host to 30 matches played over five match days across three venues.The 12 participating nations have been drawn in three pools of four teams, based on rankings from the 2018 edition.Pool B sees 2018 runners-up England face Ireland (4 June), Italy (8 June) and Australia (12 June).
The knockout stages are on Monday, 17 June with finals day on Saturday, 22 June.England, who have won the competition three times, last lifted the Championship in 2016.The tournament is a proven pathway to the top with a total of 653 players worldwide having graduated from the U20 Championship to play Test rugby since New Zealand won the inaugural title in 2008.Worcester flanker Hill was England’s latest graduate having played in the tournament last year, then making his senior international debut five months later against Japan.
In total 44 players have graduated through the tournament to play for England.
Bates said: “Choosing 28 players from the 45 we have capped this season has been incredibly tough so it’s a pretty good achievement for these players to be selected for the tournament and they should be incredibly proud of their inclusion.
“The U20 Championship gives them a chance to pit themselves against the best players in the world at their own age group in an international competition before heading into senior rugby, so is an important stage in their development.
“For a lot of these players it will be a unique experience to go to Argentina and play in a tournament of this stature and I know they will be relishing the challenge. They are very lucky to be representing England and will be looking to do their country proud and continue our successful history in the competition.“We were slightly disappointed with our consistency during the Six Nations and we know we have a lot of work to do, but we have a very good and experienced group of players and if we can keep them fit then we feel we are going to be very competitive in Argentina.”
England squad for World Rugby U20 Championship
Olly Adkins (Gloucester Rugby)
Alfie Barbeary (Wasps)
Josh Basham (Newcastle Falcons)
Richard Capstick (Exeter Chiefs)
Alex Coles (Northampton Saints)
Tom de Glanville (Bath Rugby)
Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints)
Connor Doherty (Sale Sharks)
Nic Dolly (Sale Sharks)
Ollie Fox (Yorkshire Carnegie)
Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers)
Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors)
Aaron Hinkley (Gloucester Rugby)
Josh Hodge (Newcastle Falcons)
Joel Kpoku (Saracens)
Samson Ma'asi (Northampton Saints)
Sam Maunder (Exeter Chiefs)
Kai Owen (Worcester Warriors)
Alfie Petch (Exeter Chiefs)
Cameron Redpath (Sale Sharks)
Arron Reed (Sale Sharks)
Tom Seabrook (Gloucester Rugby)
Ollie Sleightholme (Northampton Saints)
Marcus Smith (Harlequins)
Marcus Street (Exeter Chiefs)
Rusiate Tuima (Exeter Chiefs)
Manu Vunipola (Saracens)
Tom Willis (Wasps)
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.