21st Aug 2019

u/20 Six Nations – England v Ireland Preview


England lost out on the 2018 u/20 Six Nations title due to the calculator, France points difference was the only way to decide the winner. This year's England side a bit more balanced with plenty of experience while Ireland does lack experience. However, Ireland' spirit on the field always makes them a dangerous side.

Senior international Ted Hill is named at blindside for England while Northampton Saints’ outside centre Fraser Dingwall will captain the side.

Both featured in last year’s World Rugby U20 Championship final, where they lost out to France, as did lock Joel Kpoku, flanker Aaron Hinkley, No.8 Tom Willis, fly-half Marcus Smith and centre Tom Hardwick.

The side boasts some serious experience at age-group level, with prop Marcus Street lining up for his third U20 Six Nations.

Last year’s runners up still have a host of debutants in the starting XV including Olly Adkins, Nic Dolly, Alex Coles, Sam Maunder and Ollie Sleightholme as well as Ben Atkins, Bevan Rodd, Rusiate Tuima and Ollie Fox from the bench.

Head coach Steve Bates said: “This is a very exciting, talented group of players and they should not forget to play like it, we have to go out there on Friday and really express ourselves on the pitch but we know we have to respect the opposition who will be positive about their chances in this competition as well.

“This is a team full of experience, who are hugely talented and it is a shame we can only pick 15 as we’ve left out some very good players.”

Ireland is not able to boast quite the same experience as their opposition but Noel McNamara’s youngsters still have plenty of Guinness PRO14 experience in their ranks.

Openside Scott Penny was a star for Leinster in their domestic fixture last weekend, making 23 tackles on their way to a 22-17 win against Scarlets.

Ireland, who finished third last year, have the lock, Charlie Ryan, returning for a second Championship while hooker Dylan Tierney-Martin was a feature at last year’s U20 World Rugby Championship.

Six Munster players are among the starting XV including the entire back three – Jake Flannery, Conor Phillips and Jonathan Wren.

McNamara said: “We have a very talented group of players in the squad, and there were a number of tight calls on selection for this game.

“There is a lot of rugby to be played over the coming weeks and months, so the competitiveness in the squad is a real positive and bodes well for the season ahead.”

England u/20 

15. Josh Hodge (Newcastle Falcons), 14. Ollie Sleightholme (Northampton Saints), 13. Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints) - captain, 12. Tom Hardwick (Leicester Tigers), 11. Cadan Murley (Harlequins), 10. Marcus Smith (Harlequins), 9. Sam Maunder (Exeter Chiefs), 1. Olly Adkins (Gloucester), 2. Nic Dolly (Sale Sharks), 3. Marcus Street (Exeter Chiefs), 4. Joel Kpoku (Saracens), 5. Alex Coles (Northampton Saints), 6. Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors), 7. Aaron Hinkley (Gloucester), 8. Tom Willis (Wasps)


16. Ben Atkins (London Irish), 17. Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks), 18. Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers), 19. James Scott (Worcester Warriors), 20. Rusiate Tuima (Exeter Chiefs), 21. Ollie Fox (Yorkshire Carnegie), 22. Cameron Redpath (Sale Sharks), 23. Ollie Lawrence (Worcester Warriors).

Ireland u/20

15. Jake Flannery (Shannon/Munster), 14. Conor Phillips (Young Munster/Munster), 13. Liam Turner (Dublin University/Leinster), 12. David Hawkshaw (Clontarf/Leinster) (capt), 11. Jonathan Wren (Cork Constitution/Munster), 10. Harry Byrne (Lansdowne/Leinster), 9. Craig Casey (Shannon/Munster), 8. John Hodnett (UCC/Munster), 7. Scott Penny (UCD/Leinster), 6. Martin Moloney (Old Belvedere/Leinster), 5. Niall Murray (Buccaneers/Connacht), 4. Charlie Ryan (UCD/Leinster), 3. Thomas Clarkson (Dublin University/Leinster), 2. Dylan Tierney Martin (Corinthians/Connacht), 1. Josh Wycherley (Young Munster/Munster).


16. John McKee (Old Belvedere/Leinster), 17. Michael Milne (UCD/Leinster), 18. Ryan Lomas (Galwegians/Connacht), 19. Brian Deeny (Clontarf/Leinster), 20. David McCann (Banbridge/Ulster), 21. Cormac Foley (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), 22. Sean French (Cork Constitution/Munster), 23. Rob Russell (Dublin University/Leinster)

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