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Big weekend for Tigers cubs in World U20s

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All three Leicester Tigers in Argentina for the World Under-20s Championship are included in their national squads for the second round of fixtures this weekend.

Tigers tighthead prop Joe Heyes is named on the bench as England Under-20s head coach Steve Bates makes 10 changes for his side’s starting XV to face Italy.

England lost out to Grand Slam champions Ireland in their opening game on Tuesday, and take on the Azzurri this Saturday with props Kai Owen and Alfie Petch joining debutant Will Capon in the new-look front row as coach Bates rotates his squad. Fly-half Manu Vunipola (concussion) and hooker Alfie Barbeary (suspended) are ruled out of the fixture.

Bates said: “There are a lot of changes but we’ve picked a team that we know can be really competitive, I want to see the players put in a performance that they are proud of and for everyone to contribute.

“We agonised over the first selection and picking this XV has been equally as tough, but this is a strong team and we expect them to play with belief and confidence and play the sort of rugby we saw at times against Ireland but with a bit more consistency and discipline.”

This year's Championship will see a World Rugby trial, with all 28 squad members available to be used among the eight permitted replacements on matchday.

Kick-off is at 7.30pm UK time on Saturday and there is live coverage available across World Rugby platforms.

England Under-20s

15 Josh Hodge (Newcastle Falcons)
14 Tom Seabrook (Gloucester Rugby)
13 Connor Doherty (Sale Sharks)
12 Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints) (c)
11 Arron Reed (Sale Sharks)
10 Tom De Glanville (Bath Rugby)
9 Sam Maunder (Exeter Chiefs)
1 Kai Owen (Worcester Warriors)
2 Will Capon (Bristol Bears)
3 Alfie Petch (Exeter Chiefs)
4 Richard Capstick (Exeter Chiefs)
5 Alex Coles (Northampton Saints)
6 Josh Basham (Newcastle Falcons)
7 Aaron Hinkley (Gloucester Rugby)
8 Rusiate Tuima (Exeter Chiefs)

Replacements
16 Nic Dolly (Sale Sharks)
17 James Kenny (Exeter Chiefs)
18 Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers)
19 Olly Adkins (Gloucester Rugby)
20 Joel Kpoku (Saracens)
21 Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors)
22 Tom Willis (Wasps Rugby)
23 Ollie Fox (Yorkshire Carnegie)
24 Luke James (Sale Sharks)
25 Cameron Redpath (Sale Sharks)
26 Ollie Sleightholme (Northampton Saints)

Tigers duo Tommy Reffell and Sam Costelow, meanwhile, are both included in the Wales squad for Saturday’s game against defending champions France.

Wales U20s head coach Gareth Williams has made six changes, including one positional, following the opening win over host nation Argentina, but Reffell is retained in the back row and Costelow comes on to the bench for his first experience of the World Championships.

“The changes help us to keep boys fresh in what is a tough schedule of games,” said Williams.

“Over the last 12 months France have been flagbearers from an Under-20s point of view. They were champions last year and they probably weren’t as successful in the Six Nations as they hoped for but everyone was targeting them.

“But we know the quality they have got, they have a tough physical pack but they can also move the ball and have threats right across the park.”

Kick-off at the Racecourse Stadium, Rosario on Saturday is at 1.00pm UK time and there is live coverage on S4C.

Wales U20 (v France U20): 15 Ioan Dyer (Cardiff Blues), 14 Tomi Lewis (Scarlets), 13 Max Llewellyn (Cardiff Blues), 12 Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler (Ospreys), 11 Ryan Conbeer (Scarlets), 10 Cai Evans (Ospreys), 9 Dafydd Buckland (Dragons); 1 Kemsley Mathias (Scarlets), 2 Dewi Lake (Ospreys)(c), 3 Ben Warren (Cardiff Blues), 4 Ed Scragg (Dragons), 5 Jac Price (Scarlets), 6 Iestyn Rees (Scarlets), 7 Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers), 8 Jac Morgan (Aberavon/Scarlets).
Replacements: Will Griffiths (Ospreys), Garin Lloyd (Ospreys), Rhys Davies (Ospreys), Tom Devine (Dragons), Nick English (Bristol Bears), Morgan Jones (Scarlets), Lennon Greggains (Dragons), Harri Morgan (Ospreys) Sam Costelow (Leicester Tigers), Deon Smith (Dragons), Rio Dyer (Dragons).