Talking Rugby Union's Joe Harvey has picked out the five players he thinks will star for England's U20s side in their upcoming Six Nations campaign.
Joel Kpoku (Saracens)
At the age of 19, Joel Kpoku has already impressed at the U20 level as an integral part of Englands run to the Junior World Cup final last summer. With a good pedigree of locks around him at Saracens, Kpoku has had chances with the Sarries first team this season. Scoring a couple of tries on his outings in the Premiership Cup and Shield, Kpoku already seems to be a capable player in the top flight.
A rugby league convert, Kpoku is a very good carrier of the ball, especially at his fighting weight of 126kg. Having trained with the England squad in August, Kpoku is a very well thought of player who you can expect to be capped at a senior level following the World Cup later this year.
Tom Willis (Wasps)
Younger brother of the injured Jack Willis, Tom Willis is a star in the making too. Having captained England at U18 level, Willis has also skippered Wasps in the scrapped Anglo Welsh competition and in the abandoned A-League. Aged only 18 when he made his Premiership debut against Saracens, it appears that the Wasps coaching staff value the number eight highly.
A natural leader, Willis already has plenty of experience to bring to this England U20s side. A seemingly well-rounded player, Willis will be secretly buoyed by this week’s announcement that Wasps’ starting number eight, Nathan Hughes, is on his way to Bristol, giving Willis more opportunity to break into the 1st team.
Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints)
A two-time winner of the now defunct A-League, Fraser Dingwall has switched his attention to regular first team rugby at Northampton Saints this season. Playing his part in the U20s Six Nations this time last year, Dingwall also was involved with the England team that got to the final of the World Rugby U20 Championship in France last year.
Playing regularly at outside centre for Chris Boyd in the Premiership and Challenge Cup, Dingwall has scored four tries so far this season for Saints. At the age of 19, Dingwall has slotted into a senior Premiership side with relative ease. Capped once at U18s for Scotland, you can only hope that Dingwall decides to play for England at senior level.
Ollie Lawrence (Worcester Warriors)
Worcester’s win at Ospreys over the weekend has been described as the Ollie Lawrence show by some spectators. Developed at Bromsgrove School, the 19-year-old has caught the eye every time that you see him play. Playing regularly for the Worcester Cavaliers over the past two years, Lawrence has been making the bench regularly for Worcester in the Premiership.
Only gathering two U20s caps to date, Lawrence is a relatively inexperienced head at this level, however, he does possess the quality to thrive and go further. Highly sought after, the young centre signed his first senior contract at Worcester in early December.
Gus Warr (Sale Sharks)
Like Fraser Dingwall, Gus Warr has also made appearances for Scotland from U18 to U20. Now splitting his time between Sale and Fylde, Warr has been taking his chances in National 2 North. Also having made five Premiership appearances, Warr’s defection to the England camp is more than welcome news.
Like everybody else on this list, Warr is just 19 years of age, another star in the making. With plenty of youth international experience to his name already, Warr will provide good, reliable ball for England in attack as well as solid defence.