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Young Tigers take on Scotland and Ireland

England U20s head coach Alan Dickens includes three Leicester Tigers players in the matchday squad to face Scotland this Friday (February 7, 7.30pm) in Myreside, Edinburgh.

Following the opening-round victory over France, James Whitcombe resumes in the front row, while club colleague Freddie Steward starts at full-back in place of the injured Josh Hodge.

Harvey Beaton (Saracens) replaces Luke Green (London Irish) at tighthead prop in the only other change to the starting XV that ran out in Grenoble last week.

Dickens said: “The players have recovered well after a physical game in France on Saturday, analysed the match, and we’ve had a good week’s preparation ahead of Friday’s fixture.

“We’ve implemented a couple of new things ahead of the game and we know it is going to be another huge challenge that we have to take very seriously.

“The last time we played in Scotland they came out winners so we’ll be well prepared for what awaits us on Friday. It will no doubt be another challenging environment, but the players have shown they can handle that and I’ve been impressed by how quickly they have gelled as a group.

“There are always areas to work on and improve, but this is a new group, we had nine debutants at U20s level start last Saturday’s game so this team will only get better the more they play together and I’m expecting an improvement in Edinburgh on Friday.

“What impressed me on Saturday was our ability to adapt tactically and we know that will again be important against Scotland.”

England U20s team to play Scotland (Friday, February 7, kick-off 7.30pm)

15 Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers), 14 Gabriel Hamer-Webb (Bath Rugby), 13 Connor Doherty (Sale Sharks), 12 Max Ojomoh (Bath Rugby), 11 Tom Roebuck (Sale Sharks), 10 Manu Vunipola (Saracens), 9 Sam Maunder (c) (Exeter Chiefs); 1 James Whitcombe (Leicester Tigers), 2 Theo Dan (Saracens), 3 Harvey Beaton (Saracens), 4 George Hammond (Harlequins), 5 Ben Donnell (London Irish), 6 Richard Capstick (Exeter Chiefs), 7 JJ Tonks (Northampton Saints), 8 Rusi Tuima (Exeter Chiefs).

Replacements: 16 Ben Atkins (London Irish), 17 Emmanuel Iyogun (Northampton Saints), 18 Luke Green (London Irish), 19 Hugh Tizard (Harlequins), 20 Josh Gray (Gloucester Rugby), 21 Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers), 22 George Barton (Gloucester Rugby), 23 Ollie Sleightholme (Northampton Saints).

 

Tigers development squad fly-half Sam Costelow resumes his starting role for Wales as they face Ireland U20s in their second round match at Cork’s Irish Independent Park on Friday evening (7.15pm).

Elsewhere, head coach Gareth Williams makes three changes to the side beaten by Italy in Colwyn Bay last week.

Bristol Bears back Ioan Lloyd gets his first taste of action at this level with a start at full-back as Josh Thomas (Ospreys) drops down to the bench while up front, loosehead prop Theo Bevacqua (Cardiff Blues) and hooker Will Griffiths (Dragons) replace Callum Williams and Dom Booth (both Scarlets) respectively.

Defending champions Ireland sit top of the points table after an impressive 38-26 victory against Scotland, while Wales will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing 7-17 defeat to Italy in the opening round last Friday.

“Naturally, we are disappointed with the result and elements of our performance against Italy, but this week is about dealing with that and moving forward,” said Williams.

“We still have four internationals left that act as great opportunities to move players forward in their development. Ireland will be a big challenge, and the atmosphere will be electric. These are the type of environments we want to expose our young players to.”

Wales U20s team to play Ireland (Friday, February 7, kick-off 7.15pm)

15 Ioan Lloyd (Bristol Bears), 14 Daniel John (Millfield School), 13 Osian Knott (Scarlets), 12 Aneurin Owen (Dragons), 11 Ewan Rosser (Dragons), 10 Sam Costelow (Leicester Tigers), 9 Dafydd Buckland (Dragons); 1 Theo Bevacqua (Cardiff Blues), 2 Will Griffiths (Dragons), 3 Ben Warren (Cardiff Blues), 4 Jac Price (Scarlets), 5 Ben Carter (Dragons), 6 Ioan Davies (Cardiff Blues), 7 Jac Morgan (c) (Scarlets), 8 Morgan Strong (Ospreys).

Replacements: 16 Dom Booth (Scarlets), 17 Callum Williams (Scarlets), 18 Archie Griffin (Bath Rugby), 19 James Fender (Ospreys), 20 Gwilym Bradley (Cardiff Blues), 21 Ellis Bevan (Cardiff Met), 22 Bradley Roderick (Ospreys), 23 Josh Thomas (Ospreys).