World U20s 2015: England make four changes for France decider
Head coach Jon Callard expects a good test against Les Bleuts in their final Pool A match in Viadana
Jon Callard has made four changes for England’s Pool A decider against France at the World Rugby U20 Championship.
In a repeat of the final round of the RBS U20 Six Nations back in March, which the Red Rose won to lift the title, a win this time will see them through to the semi-final stages next week.
We are not worried about the outcome, that will take care of itself if we play to the best of our ability.
The only change to the backline sees Sale Sharks scrum-half James Mitchell come in to replace Exeter Chiefs’ Stuart Townsend, who misses the rest of the tournament with a knee injury.
Up front, Callard continues his management of players as Bristol looshead prop Ellis Genge returns to the front row.
Harlequins back-row forward James Chisholm also returns to the starting XV, so Sam Skinner drops to the bench, despite scoring two tries in England’s first two matches last week.
The final change sees Leicester Tigers’ versatile forward Charlie Beckett make his first start of the tournament at blindside flanker.
Bath Rugby’s Will Homer has been drafted in as the replacement scrum-half following Townsend’s withdrawal.
“It is important that we manage resources,” Callard said.
“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.
“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.”
The defending champions go into the match as favourites, but know they face a tough test against a French side that have also won their opening two matches in this year’s tournament.
England U20: Aaron Morris (Saracens), George Perkins (Saracens), Nick Tompkins (Saracens), Max Clark (Bath Rugby), Howard Packman (Northampton Saints); Rory Jennings (Bath Rugby), James Mitchell (Sale Sharks); Ellis Genge (Bristol Rugby), Jack Walker (Yorkshire Carnegie), Paul Hill (Yorkshire Carnegie), Kieran Treadwell (Harlequins), Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, captain), Charlie Beckett (Leicester Tigers), Will Owen (Leicester Tigers), James Chisholm (Harlequins).
Replacements: Jack Innard (Exeter Chiefs), Owen Hills (Leicester Tigers), Ciaran Parker (Sale Sharks), Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs), Josh Bainbridge (Yorkshire Carnegie); Will Homer (Bath Rugby), Lloyd Evans (Gloucester), Piers O’Conor (Wasps).
France U20: Thomas Ramos (Toulouse); Arthur Bonneval (Toulouse), Damian Penaud (Clermont Auvergne), Eliott Roudil (La Rochelle), Lucas Blanc (Bordeaux-Begles); Lucas Meret (Bordeaux-Begles), Anthony Meric (Toulon); Thibault Estorge (Clermont), Camille Chat (Racing Metro), Clement Castets (Montpellier), Tristan Labouteley (Montpellier), Mathieu Tanguy (La Rochelle), Sekou Macalou (Massy), Fabien Sanconnie (Brive), Lucas Bachelier (Perpignan, captain).
Replacements: Julien Marchand (Toulouse), Thierry Paiva (Bordeaux-Begles), Quentin Bethune (Agen), Julien Delannoy (Montpellier), Matthieu Ugena (Stade Français), Gauthier Doubrere (Auch), Pierre Fouyssac (Agen), Alexandre Pilati (Bordeaux-Begles).