EXETER Chiefs’ Rus Tuima will make his first England Under-20 start when they play Italy in the fourth round of the Six Nations Championship at Bedford’s Goldington Road on Friday (7.45pm).
Tuima, who is dual-registered with his home-town club Plymouth Albion, will line-up at number eight as head coach Steve Bates makes three changes to the side that played Wales at Colwyn Bay in their last match.
The other changes see Worcester Warriors’ James Scott come into the second-row in place of Alex Coles, while Gloucester’s Tom Seabrook comes into the centre where he will partner Bath’s Tom de Glanville.
Gloucester’s Olly Adkins and Aaron Hinkley and Exeter Chiefs’ Alfie Petch keep their places in the pack, while Gloucester’s Jack Bartlett and Jack Reeves and Exeter’s Richard Capstick and Sam Maunder are named on the bench.
Bates’ side are looking for a second win in the championship, having defeated world champions France in Exeter, while England have lost their away fixtures to Ireland and Wales.
Following Friday’s game in Bedford, England will end their campaign against Scotland at Northampton’s Franklin’s Gardens on Friday, March 15.
Bates said: “On reflection we had a disappointing result against Wales but we played a lot of rugby in the manner we had prepared to, we just didn’t execute it as clinically as we’d liked.
“The message to the squad is to continue to believe in what we are doing, be a bit more accurate in the final third and make sure the pressure we are putting on our opponents is turned into some scoreboard advantage.
“We saw against France in Exeter how much of a part home support can have and the players are all looking forward to taking on Italy in Bedford and we are hopeful it can give us that extra edge over Italy.”
15 Josh Hodge (Newcastle Falcons)
14 Ollie Sleightholme (Northampton Saints)
13 Tom Seabrook (Gloucester Rugby)
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 Rugby)
2 Nic Dolly (Sale Sharks)
3 Alfie Petch (Exeter Chiefs)
4 Joel Kpoku (Saracens)
5 James Scott (Worcester Warriors)
6 Tom Willis (Wasps)
7 Aaron Hinkley (Gloucester Rugby)
8 Rusiate Tuima (Exeter Chiefs)
16 Samson Ma’asi (Northampton Saints)
17 Kai Owen (Worcester Warriors)
18 Jack Bartlett (Gloucester Rugby)
19 Alex Coles (Northampton Saints)
20 Richard Capstick (Exeter Chiefs)
21 Sam Maunder (Exeter Chiefs)
22 Manu Vunipola (Saracens)
23 Jack Reeves (Gloucester Rugby)