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Five Tigers go to World Under-20s with England

Five Leicester Tigers players have been included in the England squad for the World Rugby Under-20s Championship in France this summer.

Tigers team-mates Tom Hardwick, Joe Heyes, Sam Lewis, Jordan Olowofela and Ben White are named in a 28-man squad selected by head coach Steve Bates ahead of the championships which kick off on May 30.

England meet Argentina on May 30), Italy on June 3 and Scotland four days later in Pool B. The semi-finals and ranking play-offs on are on June 12, with Beziers hosting the Finals Day matches on June 17.

White and Olowofela are among the players with Premiership experience, while Lewis and Hardwick played in the Anglo-Welsh Cup this season.

Harlequins fly-half Marcus Smith, Tom Willis (Wasps), Ben Curry (Sale Sharks) and Ben Loader (London Irish) are others who bring first-team experience to the squad.

England have reached the final in five consecutive years, winning in 2013, 2014 and 2016, and have reached eight out of the 10 finals since 2008.

The coaching team is led by Bates, with support from Leicester’s Anthony Allen (backs), Richard Blaze (forwards) and James Ponton (defence) as part of the coach development agreement between the RFU and PRL.

Bates said: “We saw real glimpses of what this team is capable of during the Six Nations and I was proud of the way they performed. The challenge for us now is to consistently play high-intensity, high-tempo rugby and to turn up the heat on our opposition for the full 80 minutes.

“The World Rugby Under-20 Championship is a fantastic tournament and for some this will be the pinnacle of their international careers. Some will go on to be very good professionals but not all will play international rugby again so they should look at this as a fantastic opportunity to play on the world stage and showcase their ability while representing England.”

As well as five Englishmen, Tigers will also be represented in the Championship by Scotland selection Sam Grahamslaw and Wales captain Tommy Reffell.

England Under-20s squad

Josh Basham (London Irish)
Ben Curry (Sale Sharks)
Beck Cutting (Worcester Warriors)
Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers)
Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors)
Aaron Hinkley (Gloucester Rugby)
Ciaran Knight (Gloucester Rugby)
Joel Kpoku (Saracens)
Sam Lewis (Leicester Tigers)
Gabriel Oghre (Wasps)
Ehren Painter (Northampton Saints)
James Scott (Worcester Warriors)
Alex Seville (Gloucester Rugby)
Toby Trinder (Northampton Saints)
Henry Walker (Gloucester Rugby)
Tom Willis (Wasps)

Rory Brand (London Irish)
Will Butler (Worcester Warriors)
Ali Crossdale (Saracens)
Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints)
James Grayson (Northampton Saints)
Tom Hardwick (Leicester Tigers)
Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins)
Ben Loader (London Irish)
Jordan Olowofela (Leicester Tigers)
Tom Parton (London Irish)
Marcus Smith (Harlequins)
Ben White (Leicester Tigers)

Unavailable through injury: Dino Lamb (Harlequins), Sam Moore (Sale Sharks), Marcus Street (Exeter Chiefs)

Unavailable as named in England senior squad: Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), Ben Earl (Saracens), Nick Isiekwe (Saracens), Cameron Redpath (Sale Sharks)