England u/20 host Italy at Goldington Road, Bedford in the fourth round of the u/20 Six Nations Championship. Both sides will hope for a win as the loser might end last on the log and wrestle the wooden spoon away from Scotland.
England u/20 was one of the favourites at the beginning of the championship. However, they lost in the first round against Ireland (27-35) and in the third round also lost with a one-point margin (10-11) against Wales. Italy looked great against Scotland in the first round (32-22) but lost against Wales (12-42) and (14-34) against Ireland. England's team is an experienced team and should win this match if the wrong Italian does not pitch.
England made three changes and one positional change to his starting lineup. Up front, James Scott comes in as lock, while Rus Tuima gets his first start at eight with Tom Willis switching to blindside flanker. Tom Willies will again captain this side. At the back injured Connor Doherty is replaced by Tom Seabrook at outside centre.
“On reflection, we had a disappointing result against Wales but we played a lot of rugby in the manner we had prepared to, we just didn’t execute it as clinically as we’d liked," said Bates.
“The message to the squad is to continue to believe in what we are doing, be a bit more accurate in the final third and make sure the pressure we are putting on our opponents is turned into some scoreboard advantage.
“We saw against France in Exeter how much of a part home support can have and the players are all looking forward to taking on Italy in Bedford and we are hopeful it can give us that extra edge over Italy.”
"We have a very young group with only 4" survivors "from the 6 nations of last year - said Italy Coach Fabio Roselli - "a factor that highlights our work with a targeted viewpoint both on the present and, above all, on the future. In these last two games, other players will have the opportunity to show off and compete internationally to try to build a solid group that can reach the 2019 u/20 World Cup with greater confidence. Against England and France, we expect two different games but both against opponents of the highest level. The guys know what are the points where you have to work harder on and I'm sure we will get to play the last two matches with greater awareness".