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England Under 20s: Five to watch

28 January 2014

  • We take a look at five players set to impress for England
  • Braley, Chisholm, Earle, Ewels and Wilson in focus

With the 2014 Under 20 Six Nations just around the corner, and England searching for an unprecedented fourth consecutive title, we take a look at five players who look set to impress for Nick Walshe and Ian Peel’s side during the competition.

The age-grade side – current Junior World Champions – start their campaign away in France on Friday night (KO 7:55pm BST), with the team announced tomorrow on RFU.com.

Callum Braley

Photo: Getty Images

Callum Braley (Bristol Rugby, scrum half)

Bristol Rugby scrum half Callum Braley has all the attributes needed for a successful halfback – he is quick, skillful and has a sharp eye for a gap. It was of no surprise to see Bristol head honcho Andy Robinson lauding Callum’s ability recently, and his experience will prove valuable as he goes head-to-head with Exeter’s Stuart Townsend for the nine shirt. He is one of eight squad members with a Junior World Championship medal around his neck, but the former Hartpury student isn’t one to rest on his laurels and will be keen to back up his success with more silverware.

James Chisholm

Photo: Tania Richards

James Chisholm (Harlequins, No. 8)

Former England Under 18 captain James Chisholm is your archetypal back row forward. Most at home in the No. 8 shirt, Chisholm possesses the size, strength and try-scoring knack that should set him in good stead this season. He lifted the U18s FIRA/AER European Championship trophy last March, crossed twice against South Africa during the Under 18s summer tour in August, and bagged another against Australia last December – not a bad year, and that happy habit of scoring against South Hemisphere sides may well prove to be a useful attribute!

Nathan Earle

Photo: Tania Richards

Nathan Earle (Saracens, wing)

Nathan may well be the name, but pace is certainly the game for Saracens wing Nathan Earle. He burst onto the scene back in 2012 when he skipped past former All Blacks full back Mils Muliaina and scored a memorable try for Sarries. He made the wing berth his own at England Under 18 level and his athletic ability is unquestionable. Not dissimilar in build to Anthony Watson, Earle will be hoping to follow in Watson’s footsteps as a Six Nations and Junior World Championship winner.

Charlie Ewels

Photo: Tania Richards

Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, lock)

England Under 18 supremo John Fletcher is a coach who encourages ambition, so with that in mind, it was entirely unremarkable when one of his charges plucked a pass off their toes and threw a no-look cat-flap to set up a try in the final moments of the win over Australian Schools back in December. That the player in question was a six foot six second row was slightly more surprising. Ewels is no lumbering lock – far from it. A key role in Bath’s A League win will build confidence and, progressing to Walshe’s side this season, he is sure to play a role in both the Six Nations and the Junior World Championship.

Scott Wilson

Photo: Tania Richards

Scott Wilson (Newcastle Falcons, prop)

Weighing in at an impressive 122kgs, you’d be forgiven for thinking that all prop Scott Wilson can do is push. But the talented tight-head, who appeared in nine of England U20’s ten games last season, has many more strings to his bow. Assistant coach Ian Peel – an extremely shrewd judge of tight-five prowess – has very high hopes for Melrose-born Wilson, who was the cornerstone of last summer’s Junior World Championship win. Wilson made an impressive England Saxons debut against Ireland Wolfhounds, but is set to join back up with the Under 20s as they look to defend their trophy.

England Under 20s Six Nations fixtures

  • Friday, January 31: France Under-20s v England Under-20s, Stade Leo Lagrange, Draguignan (7.55pm BST)
  • Friday, February 7: Scotland Under-20s v England Under-20s, Netherdale, Galashiels (7.30pm)
  • Saturday, February 22: England Under-20s v Ireland Under-20s, Franklin’s Gardens, Northampton (6.15pm, live on Sky Sports HD) 
  • Friday March 7: England Under-20s v Wales Under-20s, Kingston Park, Newcastle (7.45pm, live on Sky Sports HD) 
  • Friday March 14: Italy Under-20s v England Under-20s, Campo Comunale La Colombera, Brescia (kick off  6.00pm BST)