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Rugby News

Five Tigers kick off Under-20s with England

Tom Hardwick starts in the midfield for England's opening game of the Championship
Tom Hardwick starts in the midfield for England's opening game of the Championship

Five Leicester Tigers are in line to make their World Rugby Under-20s Championship debut with England this week.

England head coach Steve Bates has named his side for the opening game against Argentina on Wednesday in Narbonne, with Tigers trio Ben White, Tom Hardwick and Jordan Olowofela in the starting line-up and clubmates Joe Heyes and Sam Lewis among the replacements.

Sale Sharks flanker Ben Curry, whose twin brother Tom played for the senior team against the Barbarians on Sunday at Twickenham, will captain England.

The starting team contains four players appearing at their second World Under-20s in the form of hooker Henry Walker, fly-half James Grayson, wing Ali Crossdale and full-back Tom Parton. Replacements Alex Seville (Gloucester Rugby) and Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins) were also part of last year’s squad.

England U20s have reached the final in five consecutive years, winning in 2013, 2014 and 2016, and have reached eight out of the 10 finals.

Steve Bates said: “We’ve had a really good period of preparation ahead of this tournament with a hugely beneficial fixture against South Africa and a training session with Wales.

“It’s really helped to focus the minds of the players and we’ve seen a further improvement in training ahead of our first match.

“I want to see us play with a bit more patience on Wednesday, I don’t want us to lower our intensity, but if we play as we did during the Six Nations then we have the ability to create a lot of opportunities and we need to be patient in how we execute those chances.

“We have an excellent squad of players, every position is competitive and this is an exciting England team that I’m looking forward to seeing perform on the world stage.”

Tigers also have Sam Grahamslaw (Scotland) and Tommy Reffell (Wales) at the Under-20s this summer.

England Under-20s
15 Tom Parton (London Irish)
14 Ali Crossdale (Saracens)
13 Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints)
12 Tom Hardwick (Leicester Tigers)
11 Jordan Olowofela (Leicester Tigers)

10 James Grayson (Northampton Saints)
9 Ben White (Leicester Tigers)
1 Toby Trinder (Northampton Saints)
2 Henry Walker (Gloucester Rugby)
3 Ehren Painter (Northampton Saints)
4 Joel Kpoku (Saracens)
5 James Scott (Worcester Warriors)
6 Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors)
7. Ben Curry (Sale Sharks) (c)
8. Josh Basham (London Irish)

16 Beck Cutting (Worcester Warriors)
17 Alex Seville (Gloucester Rugby)
18 Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers)
19 Sam Lewis (Leicester Tigers)

20 Tom Willis (Wasps)
21 Rory Brand (London Irish)
22 Marcus Smith (Harlequins)
23 Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins)