A HOST of West Country-based players have been named in the England Under-20 for their match with Wales on Friday in Colwyn Bay (7.05pm).
With several players retained by Premiership clubs for this weekend’s domestic fixtures head coach Steve Bates has made seven changes to the side that defeated France in the second round of the U20 Six Nations Championship at Sandy Park.
In the pack, Exeter Chiefs prop Alfie Petch will make his England U20s debut with club colleague flanker Richard Capstick the other change in the forwards.
There is a new half-back pairing with scrum half Ollie Fox starting alongside Kieran Wilkinson who also makes his U20s debut.
There is also a debut for outside centre Connor Doherty, while inside him Tom de Glanville starts his first U20s game.
Wing Ollie Hassell-Collins is the other debutant for the clash in north Wales with England captained by number eight Tom Willis on Friday.
England opened their Six Nations campaign with defeat in Ireland, before victory against France at Exeter’s Sandy Park.
“Making so many changes provides a challenge for the coaches but this is where the training we did with the wider squad in December and January pays dividends,” said Bates.
“This is a huge opportunity for those players coming in to show how talented they are and stake a claim for future selection. We had an impressive win against France, and the players that have come in since that victory have trained well and we have confidence in them to build on that victory.
“We know Friday is going to be a huge challenge, it is away in Wales and we are expecting a hostile atmosphere but the players should relish that.”
15 Josh Hodge (Newcastle Falcons)
14 Ollie Sleightholme (Northampton Saints)
13 Connor Doherty (Sale Sharks)
12 Tom de Glanville (Bath Rugby)
11 Ollie Hassell-Collins (London Irish)
10 Kieran Wilkinson (Sale Sharks)
9 Ollie Fox (Yorkshire Carnegie)
1 Olly Adkins (Gloucester)
2 Nic Dolly (Sale Sharks)
3 Alfie Petch (Exeter Chiefs)
4 Joel Kpoku (Saracens)
5 Alex Coles (Northampton Saints)
6 Richard Capstick (Exeter Chiefs)
7 Aaron Hinkley (Gloucester)
8 Tom Willis (Wasps)
16 Samson Ma’asi (Northampton Saints)
17 Kai Owen (Worcester Warriors)
18 Jack Bartlett (Gloucester Rugby)
19 James Scott (Worcester Warriors)
20 Rusiate Tuima (Exeter Chiefs)
21 Sam Maunder (Exeter Chiefs)
22 Manu Vunipola (Saracens)
- Jack Reeves (Gloucester)