England Under 20 head coach Nick Walshe has named a squad with a huge amount of Aviva Premiership, A-League and RFU Championship experience for the IRB Junior World Championship 2013 in France.
Walshe, who has stepped up from assistant coach after Rob Hunter’s departure to join Exeter Chiefs after guiding England to a third Under 20 Six Nations title in a row, is pleased with the players at his disposal.
“We enjoyed a good Six Nations and on the back of that, competition for places has been high and some good players have missed out. However, we’re very pleased with the 28 selected,” admitted the former England international.
“The games come thick and fast in this tournament, we’ve got a very tough group but we’re excited by that challenge.”
Eight members of the 28-man squad played at JWC 2012 where England recorded their worst finish of seventh, including Dom Barrow, Jack Clifford, Luke Cowan-Dickie, David Sis, Sam Hill and Henry Slade.
The likes of LV= Breakthrough Player of the Year Jack Nowell, Ben Howard, Clifford, Ollie Devoto and Slade have all played in the Aviva Premiership in recent weeks.
England have a tricky pool to negotiate with hosts France first up, followed by defending champions South Africa and IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy 2012 winners USA, who return to the JWC stage for the first time since the inaugural tournament in 2008.
“All our attention is on that first game against the French, we did well against them in the Six Nations (won 40-10) but this will be a totally different game. It’s one we’re looking forward to.”
England Under 20 squad
Forwards: Dom Barrow (Leeds Carnegie), Jack Clifford (Harlequins), Joel Conlon (Exeter Chiefs), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Matt Hankin (Saracens), Alec Hepburn (London Wasps), Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi (Northampton Saints), Ross Moriarty (Gloucester Rugby), Nathan Morris (London Wasps), Tom Price (Leicester Tigers), David Sisi (London Irish), Tom Smallbone (London Irish), Scott Spurling (Saracens), Elliott Stooke (Gloucester Rugby), Harry Wells (Leicester Tigers), Scott Wilson (Newcastle Falcons).
Backs: Callum Braley (Bristol Rugby), Alex Day (Northampton Saints), Ollie Devoto (Bath Rugby), Sam Hill (Exeter Chiefs), Will Hooley (Northampton Saints), Ben Howard (Worcester Warriors), Mark Jennings (Sale Sharks), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Harry Sloan (Harlequins), Tom Stephenson (Northampton Saints), Anthony Watson (London Irish).