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England quintet to face Ireland

31 March 2005

England will give first starts to five players in their final match of the Under-18 Four Nations Championship against Ireland at Pontypridd on April 1 (1.30pm).

The quintet includes lock Sam McDonald (RGS Worcester and Worcester Warriors) who was drafted into the squad earlier this week to replace mumps victim Chevvy Pennycook. Last week McDonald played a prominent part in helping England win the AER Under-18 Championship in France.

The other four newcomers to the starting line-up are centre Jordan Turner-Hall, winger Nick Canty, scrum-half Rob Springall and lock Charlie Gardiner. All appeared as replacements against either Scotland or Wales earlier in the tournament.

England retain a mathematical chance of winning the title but, in order to do that, they need to beat Ireland and hope that Scotlanbd can produce a major upset by defeating Wales in the second match at Pontypridd (4.15pm). Wales, who are seeking a seventh consecutive title, have yet to lose a game in the competition while Scotland were beaten by England last Saturday and by Ireland on Tuesday.

England were beaten 20-6 by Wales at Dunvant on Tuesday, the consequence of a disappointing performance on a mudbath pitch.

"I don't think any of the players had experienced conditions quite like that but the lads were still very disappointed and they want to make amends against Ireland," said England manager Ted Atkinson.

"We have made a number of changes, some because of the competition rules, but those who are not playing feel that they have been dropped, they have taken the Wales defeat that badly."

England Under-18s:  Alex Tait (Barnard Castle School and Durham); Ollie Dodge (Wyggeston & QE I College, Leicester Tigers and Leicestershire), George Hughes (Cheltenham College, Bath and Gloucestershire - captain), Jordan Turner-Hall (Brighton College and Sussex), Nick Canty (Whitgift School, Bromley and Kent); Marcus Jackson (Kirkham GS and Lancashire), Rob Springall (Tonbridge School, Bromley and Kent); Matt Mullan (Bromsgrove School, Worcester Warriors and North Midlands), Adam Bray (Lymm Hs, Lymm and Cheshire), Jack Forster (Bolton HS, Sedgley Park and Lancashire), Charlie Gardiner (Peter Symonds Sixth Form College, Winchester, London Irish and Hampshire), Simon Pitfield (Bedford School, Northampton Saints and East Midlands), Sam McDonald (RGS Worcester, Worcester Warriors and North Midlands), Jamie Miller (Bath College, Bath and Somerset), Alex Shaw (Lutterworth GS, Leicester Tigers and Leicestershire). Replacements (seven from): Mark Odejobi (Millfield School, NEC Harlequins and Surrey), Paul Bailey-Green (Abbotsholme School, Moseley and North Midlands), Hamish Smales (Sedbergh School, Tynedale and Northumberland), Joe Simpson (St Benedict's School, Ealing, Richmond, London Wasps and Middlesex), Charlie Beech (Oakham School, Northampton Saints and Leicestershire), Adam Lewis (Kirkham GS and Lancashire), Stuart Eborall (Sedbergh School and Yorkshire), Tim Visser (Barnard Castle School, Newcastle Falcons and Durham), Jordan Page (Kirkham GS, Sedgley Park and Lancashire), Hugo Ellis (St Benedict's School, Ealing, London Wasps and Middlesex), Richard Gill (Freman College, Saracens and Hertfordshire).