England U20 name matchday squad for Six Nations opener against Ireland

Marcus Smith is part of England U20 line-up
Marcus Smith is part of England U20 line-up

England U20s head coach Steve Bates has named the matchday squad for the U20 Six Nations opener against Ireland to be played at the Irish Independent Park on Friday.

Worcester Warriors' Ted Hill, who made his Test debut during the November series against Japan has been named the vice-captain and will start at blindside flanker with skipper Fraser Dingwall at outside centre.

Lock Joel Kpoku, flanker Aaron Hinkley, No 8 Tom Willis, fly half Marcus Smith and centre Tom Hardwick have all retained their places from the side that lost to France last summer while prop Olly Adkins, hooker Nic Dolly, lock Alex Coles, scrum half Sam Maunder and wing Ollie Sleightholme are set for U20 debut.

The message to the squad this week has been that this is a great opportunity for them to show how good they are at the start of another Six Nations campaign and they should play with confidence," said Bates.

“This is a very exciting, talented group of players and they should not forget to play like it. We have to go out there on Friday and really express ourselves on the pitch but we know we have to respect the opposition who will be positive about their chances in this competition as well.

“This is a team full of experience, who are hugely talented and it’s shame we can only pick 15 as we’ve left out some very good players.

“The replacements will all be expected to make an impact on Friday, while the wider squad who will not be in Ireland will also be required at various points in the competition, and we need everyone to stay involved as they will play further down the line.”

England U20s starting line-up: Josh Hodge (Newcastle Falcons), Ollie Sleightholme (Northampton Saints), Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints) - captain, Tom Hardwick (Leicester Tigers), Cadan Murley (Harlequins), Marcus Smith (Harlequins), Sam Maunder (Exeter Chiefs), Olly Adkins (Gloucester), Nic Dolly (Sale Sharks), Marcus Street (Exeter Chiefs), Joel Kpoku (Saracens), Alex Coles (Northampton Saints), Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors), Aaron Hinkley (Gloucester), Tom Willis (Wasps)


Ben Atkins (London Irish), Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks), Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers), James Scott (Worcester Warriors), Rusiate Tuima (Exeter Chiefs), Ollie Fox (Yorkshire Carnegie), Cameron Redpath (Sale Sharks), Ollie Lawrence (Worcester Warriors).

England Fixtures