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England Under 20 make six changes for Italy

08 February 2012

  • England Under 20 head coach Rob Hunter rings changes
  • Chris Walker named captain for match against Italy in Rovigo
England U20 boss Rob Hunter

Photo: Getty Images

England Under 20 have made six changes to the team that beat Scotland 59-3 for Friday night's clash against Italy in Rovigo, kick off 7.00pm 

Chris Walker captains the side in the absence of Leicester Tigers fly half George Ford, while Anthony Watson, Sam Hill, Josh Bassett, Tommy Bell, Scott Spurling and Dominic Barrow all come into the side.

England are no strangers to the northern region of Italy having spent last June there for the 2011 IRB Junior World Championship. This side is much changed from the group that lost out to New Zealand in the final, with just Ben Ransom and Dan Robson still in the side from that day.

England beat Italy 74-3 in last year's Six Nations competition, with Andy Short and Elliot Daly both scoring four tries, but skipper Walker, who didn't play last time round, says that last season's result bears no relevance:

“It’s a massive honour to be named captain for this game," he said. "Italy are a good side and playing in front of their fans in Rovigo won’t be easy. We’ve had a good week in camp and the boys have worked hard and are looking in good shape.

"Last season's group enjoyed a good win against Italy, but we're not thinking about that for one second – this is a different group of players.

“I captained England at Under 18 level in 2010 when we played South Africa so I know the responsibility that goes with it, but I’ll enjoy and relish the opportunity to lead such a talented bunch of lads.”

England Under 20 starting XV to play Italy

15) Ben Ransom (Saracens)
14) Anthony Watson (London Irish)
13) Charlie Walker (Harlequins)
12) Sam Hill (Exeter Chiefs)
11) Josh Bassett (Bedford Blues)
10) Tommy Bell (Leeds Carnegie)
9) Dan Robson (Gloucester Rugby)

1) Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs)
2) Scott Spurling (Saracens)
3) Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins)
4) Tom Price (Leicester Tigers)
5) George Merrick (Harlequins)
6) Dominic Barrow (Leeds Carnegie)
7) Chris Walker (C) (Leeds Carnegie)
8) Jack Clifford (Harlequins)

Replacements:

16) Nathan Morris (London Wasps)
17) Alec Hepburn (London Wasps)
18) Ross Harrison (Sale Sharks)
19) Elliot Stooke (Gloucester Rugby)
20) Will Skuse (Bath Rugby)
21) Ben Spencer (Saracens)
22) Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
23) Jack Arnott (Exeter Chiefs)