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England men U20s head coach Steve Bates has named his 28-player squad for the 2019 World Rugby U20 Championship in Argentina (4-22 June).
The group includes nine players who have appeared in the tournament before with props Joe Heyes, Marcus Street, lock Joel Kpoku, backrow forwards Josh Basham, Ted Hill, Aaron Hinkley, Tom Willis, fly half Marcus Smith and centre Fraser Dingwall all named in the squad.
Street was part of the England squad who reached the 2017 final in Georgia, losing to New Zealand, while the others played in last year's final against France.
See how England's youngsters are preparing for the upcoming @WorldRugby U20 Championship with a series of unique off-pitch experiences designed to develop self-awareness, ability to influence, communication and leadership skills— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) May 3, 2019
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Pool B sees 2018 runners-up England face Ireland (4 June), Italy (8 June) and Australia (12 June). The cities of Rosario and Santa Fe will play host to 30 matches played over five match days across three venues.
The 12 participating nations have been drawn in three pools of four teams, based on rankings from the 2018 edition. England, who have won the competition three times, last lifted the Championship in 2016.
The tournament is a proven pathway to the top with a total of 653 players worldwide having graduated from the U20 Championship to play Test rugby since New Zealand won the inaugural title in 2008.
Worcester flanker Hill was England’s latest graduate having played in the tournament last year, then making his international debut five months later against Japan. In total 44 players have graduated through the tournament to play for England.
“Choosing 28 players from the 45 we have capped this season has been incredibly tough, so it’s a pretty good achievement for these players to be selected for the tournament and they should be incredibly proud of their inclusion," said Bates.
“The U20 Championship gives them a chance to pit themselves against the best players in the world at their own age group in an international competition before heading into senior rugby, so is an important stage in their development.
“For a lot of these players it will be a unique experience to go to Argentina and play in a tournament of this stature and I know they will be relishing the challenge. They are very lucky to be representing England and will be looking to do their country proud and continue our successful history in the competition.
“We were slightly disappointed with our consistency during the Six Nations and we know we have a lot of work to do, but we have a very good and experienced group of players and if we can keep them fit then we feel we are going to be very competitive in Argentina.”
England squad for World Rugby U20 Championship
Olly Adkins (Gloucester Rugby)
Alfie Barbeary (Wasps) – Bloxham School
Josh Basham (Newcastle Falcons)
Richard Capstick (Exeter Chiefs)
Alex Coles (Northampton Saints)
Tom de Glanville (Bath Rugby)
Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints)
Connor Doherty (Sale Sharks)
Nic Dolly (Sale Sharks)
Ollie Fox (Yorkshire Carnegie)
Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers)
Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors)
Aaron Hinkley (Gloucester Rugby)
Josh Hodge (Newcastle Falcons)
Joel Kpoku (Saracens)
Samson Ma'asi (Northampton Saints)
Sam Maunder (Exeter Chiefs)
Kai Owen (Worcester Warriors)
Alfie Petch (Exeter Chiefs)
Cameron Redpath (Sale Sharks)
Arron Reed (Sale Sharks)
Tom Seabrook (Gloucester Rugby)
Ollie Sleightholme (Northampton Saints)
Marcus Smith (Harlequins)
Marcus Street (Exeter Chiefs)
Rusiate Tuima (Exeter Chiefs)
Manu Vunipola (Saracens)
Tom Willis (Wasps)
England U20 fixtures
4 June: England U20s v Ireland U20s (KO 7.30pm BST), live on World Rugby platforms.
8 June: England U20s v Italy U20s (KO 7.30pm BST), live on World Rugby platforms.
12 June: England U20s v Australia U20s (KO 7.30pm BST), live on World Rugby platforms.
Knockout stages on Monday, 17 June and finals day on Saturday, 22 June, live on ITV.