England U20 have made six changes to the starting line-up and named seven debutants for their Six Nations game against Italy on Friday night at the Stadio Pacifici, San Dona’ Di Piave (6.10pm GMT).
Max Malins, Sam Smith and George Nott all win their first caps as England aim to bounce back from their 24-6 defeat by Scotland.
If Ralph Adams-Hale, Curtis Langdon, Paolo Odogwu and Jack Willis all feature from the bench, a total of 24 players will have made their debuts and had the chance to test themselves at U20 international level over the two games.
Callum Chick will captain the side in the absence of the injured Jack Walker. The Newcastle Falcons No 8 brings the experience of leading the U18s on tour to South Africa last summer.
Head Coach Jon Callard said: “It is good to be able to give a number of players an opportunity this Friday after others have unfortunately been ruled out with injury. Max Malins and Sam Smith also come into the mix after being unavailable for selection against Scotland.
“The opening loss is in the past and now we have to look forward at ways to improve our performance. We had 64% possession and the positive is that we had clear chances. We want the players to take confidence from that and this week one of our key aims is to be clinical enough to take points from those plays.”
Twelve clubs are represented in the squad and among the six changes to the starting XV, Gloucester’s Mat Protheroe moves to fly half, where he featured for the latter part of the game against Scotland, and Malins comes in at full back.
Chick plays in a changed back row which includes Zach Mercer and Smith – whose return allows him to cover for the injured Josh Bainbridge. Nott starts at No 5 and Jack Singleton steps up from the bench in place of Walker.
England U20 v Italy U20
15. Max Malins (Saracens)
14. George Perkins (Saracens)
13. Joe Marchant (Harlequins)
12. Charlie Thacker (Leicester Tigers)
11. Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby)
10. Mathew Protheroe (Gloucester Rugby)
9. Max Green (Yorkshire Carnegie)
1. Tom West (Wasps)
2. Jack Singleton (Worcester Warriors)
3. Will Stuart (Wasps)
4. Huw Taylor (Worcester Warriors)
5. George Nott (Sale Sharks)
6. Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby)
7. Sam Smith (Worcester Warriors)
8. Callum Chick (Newcastle Falcons) (c)
16. Curtis Langdon (London Irish)
17. Ralph Adams-Hale (Saracens)
18. Billy Keast (Exeter Chiefs)
19. Stan South (Harlequins)
20. Jack Willis (Wasps)
21. Jamie Shillcock (Worcester Warriors)
22. Joe Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs)
23. Paolo Odogwu (Leicester Tigers)