Yorkshire Carnegie pair of Paul Hill and Jack Walker will start for England U20 as they begin the defence of their U20 World title in Italy this week.

Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints) and Will Witty (Newcastle Falcons) earn their first caps as England kick off the defence of their U20s Championship title against Japan tomorrow at the Stadio San Michele, Calvisano (kick off 5.30BST, live on BT Sport).

In total, seven changes have been made to the side that secured the Six Nations with a 24-11 victory over France back in March. 

Winger Tom Howe (pictured) makes his first start and Lloyd Evans will be hoping for a debut from the bench.

Max Clark and Stuart Tompkins create a new centre partnership and Stuart Townsend and Ellis Genge also return to the starting XV.

Tompkins, along with James Chisholm, Paul Hill and Jack Walker bring vital experience, having lifted the U20s Championship trophy in New Zealand last year.

“Everyone has settled in really well since arriving on Thursday," said Head Coach Jon Callard. "Training has been spot on – good intensity, great accuracy and plenty of enthusiasm. The squad are keen to get our processes right and they are looking forward to the first match.

“The players are aware of their roles and responsibilities and are excited about the challenge ahead. We want them not to have any nerves, to play with plenty of freedom, and to the enjoy the opportunity to express themselves.

“It is tough to have Japan first because they are a relatively unknown quality. From the tapes we have studied, we know that they are a physical, passionate side who will fight hard for the ball. We need to be clinical, focus on ourselves and our systems and make full use of possession.”

England U20 to play Japan:

15 Aaron Morris (Saracens)
14 George Perkins (Saracens)
13 Nick Tompkins (Saracens)
12 Max Clark (Bath Rugby)
11 Tom Howe (Wasps)
10 Rory Jennings (Bath Rugby)
9 Stuart Townsend (Exeter Chiefs)

1 Ellis Genge (Bristol Rugby)
2 Jack Walker (Yorkshire Carnegie)
3 Paul Hill (Yorkshire Carnegie)
4 Will Witty (Newcastle Falcons)
5 Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, Captain)
6 Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints)
7 Will Owen (Leicester Tigers)
8 James Chisholm (Harlequins)


16 Jack Innard (Exeter Chiefs)
17 Sebastian Adeniran-Olule (Harlequins)
18 Ciaran Parker (Sale Sharks)
19 Sam Skinner  (Exeter Chiefs)
20 Charlie Beckett (Leicester Tigers)
21 James Mitchell (Sale Sharks)
22 Lloyd Evans (Gloucester)
23 Piers O’Conor (Wasps)

England World Rugby Under 20 Championship schedule

2 June, England vs Japan, kick-off 5.30pm BST, Stadio San Michele, Calvisano 
6 June, England vs Wales, kick-off 7.30pm BST, Stadio San Michele, Calvisano 
10 June, England vs France, kick-off 3.30pm BST, Stadio Luigi Zaffanella, Viadana 
15 June, semi-final or play-off games. Details TBC 
20 June, final and play-off games. Details TBC