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Rugby News

Four Tigers in England U20s Six Nations opener

Ben White has been named in the England U20s starting XV to take on Italy in the opening match of the Six Nations.

The side, who won the Grand Slam last season, face Italy at Stadio Enzo Bearzot, Gorizia on Friday (kick-off 6pm GMT).

White’s Leicester Tigers teammates Sam Lewis, Tom Hardwick and Jordan Olowofela have been named among the replacements. The four Tigers players are all set to win their first U20s caps.

In total, England are set to hand U20s debuts to 12 players, while the squad also includes eight members of the squad that reached the final of the World Rugby U20 Championship in Georgia last year.

England U20s are led by head coach Steve Bates who is assisted by Tigers academy lead coach Anthony Allen and former forwards coach Richard Blaze as part of the coach development programme agreement between the RFU and Premiership Rugby.

Bates said: “It’s been really difficult to select a XV because we have some very talented young players and several of them have performed very well over the first half of the season.

“We’ve tried to take into consideration the way they have performed in our two camps, which has been first class, as well as the games they’ve played up until Christmas.

“We’ll play high-intensity, high-tempo rugby against Italy and I expect us to be robust and direct. We’ve also talked about being reactive throughout the tournament and I think we have a side that is very versatile.

“Excitement is building among the squad, this is the first match of the tournament and we’re determined to make our own history.

“Most of the players in the senior side have played U20 rugby so that shows the strength of the pathway. The pathway is there to promote players through the programme and the new caps will be excited about following in the footsteps of some very special players. They recognise how big an opportunity this is for them.”

England U20 side to face Italy, Six Nations:
*denotes uncapped player

15 Tom Parton (London Irish)

14 Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins)

13 Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints)*

12 Will Butler (Worcester Warriors)

11 Ben Loader (London Irish)*

10 James Grayson (Northampton Saints)

9 Ben White (Leicester Tigers)*

1Toby Trinder (Northampton Saints)*

2 Henry Walker (Gloucester)

3 Marcus Street (Exeter Chiefs)

4 Dino Lamb (Harlequins)

5 James Scott (Worcester Warriors)*

6 Sam Moore (Sale)*

7 Ben Earl (Saracens)

8 Tom Willis (Wasps)*

16 Gabriel Oghre (Wasps)*

17 Alex Seville (Gloucester)

18 Joe Morris (Worcester Warriors)

19 Sam Lewis (Leicester Tigers)*

20 Josh Basham (London Irish)*

21 Rory Brand (London Irish)

22 Tom Hardwick (Leicester Tigers)*

23 Jordan Olowofela (Leicester Tigers)*

England U20 Six Nations fixtures:
Italy v England
Friday 2 February, KO 7pm (6pm GMT)
Stadio Enzo Bearzot, Gorizia

England v Wales
Friday 9 February, KO 7.45pm – live on Sky Sports Action
Kingston Park, Newcastle

Scotland v England
Friday 23 February, KO 7.30pm
Myreside, Edinburgh

France v England 
Friday 9 March, KO 9pm (8pm GMT)
Stade de la Mediterranee, Beziers

England v Ireland 
Friday 16 March, KO 8pm – live on Sky Sports Action