England U20 make four changes for France

  • Genge, Beckett and Chisholm into pack
  • Mitchell replaces injured Townsend at scrum half

England have named their match-day 23 for tomorrow’s World Rugby U20 Championship pool decider against France at the Stadio Luigi Zaffanella, Viadana  (kick off 3.30pm BST live on BT Sport 1).

Flanker Charlie Beckett makes his first start of the tournament and Ellis Genge and James Chisholm re-claim their places at loosehead prop and No 8 as squad management continues.

James Mitchell is the only change in the backline from the side that beat Wales 30-16, stepping up at scrum half after Stuart Townsend was ruled out of the rest of the tournament with a knee injury. Bath Rugby’s Will Homer becomes the replacement number nine.

Head Coach Jon Callard said: “It is important that we manage resources. It is about keeping players fit and fresh for the whole of the tournament and giving everyone an opportunity. 

“Some will inevitably be disappointed when they miss out, but the squad we have selected is what we believe to be the best fit for this particular game.”

England last played France back in March and retained their Six Nations title with a 24-11 win. Now a place in the semi-final of the World Rugby U20 Championship is at stake given both sides have won their opening two pool matches. 

This could bring added pressure, but for Callard and the England management, the priority remains to the players to encourage the players to take enjoyment from developing and expressing themselves on the field.  

“We are just concentrating on ourselves,” added the former Bath man. “We are always trying to improve as a team, and develop the processes that go into being a good team, with capable and confident players. We are not worried about the outcome, that will take care of itself if we play to the best of our ability.

“I always enjoy playing against the French and watching them play.  They have flair and a well-drilled set piece which makes it a nice challenge for our team. Our scrum and lineout have improved game on game so to go against a strong French side will be a good test. 

“I am expecting them to be solid up front and committed, and because of that French element of the unknown, we need to be sharp, always switched on and ready to respond to every eventuality.”

England U20 to face France

15. Aaron Morris (Saracens)
14. George Perkins (Saracens)
13. Nick Tompkins (Saracens)
12. Max Clark (Bath Rugby)
11. Howard Packman (Northampton Saints)
10. Rory Jennings (Bath Rugby)
9. James Mitchell (Sale Sharks)

1. Ellis Genge (Bristol Rugby)
2. Jack Walker (Yorkshire Carnegie)
3. Paul Hill (Yorkshire Carnegie)
4. Kieran Treadwell (Harlequins)
5. Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, captain)
6. Charlie Beckett (Leicester Tigers)
7. Will Owen (Leicester Tigers)
8. James Chisholm (Harlequins)


16. Jack Innard (Exeter Chiefs)
17. Owen Hills (Leicester Tigers)
18. Ciaran Parker (Sale Sharks)
19. Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs)
20. Josh Bainbridge (Yorkshire Carnegie)
21. Will Homer (Bath Rugby)
22. Lloyd Evans (Gloucester)
23. Piers O’Conor (Wasps)

England schedule (matches live on BT Sport)

2 June, England 59 - 7 Japan, kick-off 5.30pm BST, Stadio San Michele, Calvisano 
6 June, England 30 – 16 Wales, kick-off 7.30pm BST, Stadio San Michele, Calvisano 
10 June, England vs France, kick-off 3.30pm BST, Stadio Luigi Zaffanella, Viadana 
15 June, semi-finals and knock-out games. Details TBC 
20 June, final and knock-out games, Details TBC