England U20 have named their squad for their first home game of the Six Nations hosted by Kingston Park tomorrow evening (kick off 6.05pm, live on Sky Sports 3).
The game has a full home factor for Newcastle Falcons' Callum Chick who will once again captain the side.
The No. 8 lines up in the back row alongside Archie White who is one of only two changes to the squad who beat Italy 42-7 in Venice.
White starts at blind-side flanker while Jake Pope comes onto the bench in the place of the injured Ralph Adams-Hale.
Head Coach Jon Callard said: “Playing our home games around the country allows us to spread the message about the youngsters England have coming through the pathway. It is great to come to Newcastle. The squad are excited about the support and welcome they will receive at Kingston Park and we want to play a game that the spectators will enjoy.”
It is a big year for U20 rugby in the country, with the World Rugby Championship to be held in Manchester in June, and for the development of this group through the Six Nations and into the summer, a wider squad effort is required.
Callard added: “We have been in camp for three weeks now and each week we bring 27 players in to keep a good base of players up to speed. This gives them the chance to prove themselves and also understand what we are trying to achieve and how we are developing.
“Unfortunately some guys then miss out on match day, but we want this to be a full squad effort with everyone involved working hard for each other. This week, Archie has the opportunity to show what he can bring although, his inclusion does mean that Zach Mercer misses out.”
England currently sit in third place in the table level with Scotland who provided a tough challenge on the opening weekend. Following a 24-6 defeat England bounced back in Italy and are hoping to build on the form shown in the last round.
“Against Italy we put some nice patterns of play together, our game understanding was stronger and our game management was better,” said Callard. “That improvement came about from having more time together and having the experience of a good hit out against Scotland. We always said we would need that first game against Scotland to really know where we were at, and unfortunately we came up short that day, but rectified it the following week in tough conditions.
“Against Ireland it is a different surface again. The 4G means it is going to be quick game and we need to be sharp around the breakdown. Our defence must be solid and we need to know our roles and responsibilities. In attack, it is simply about being clinical and taking the opportunities when we have identified them.”
England U20 v Ireland 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. Archie White (Harlequins)
7. Sam Smith (Worcester Warriors)
8. Callum Chick (Newcastle Falcons) (c)
16. Curtis Langdon (London Irish)
17. Jake Pope (Sale Sharks)
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)
U20 Six Nations:
Scotland 24 – 6 England
Friday 5 February (8pm)
Broadwood Stadium, Glasgow
Italy 7 – 42 England
Friday 12 February (7.10pm local time)
Stadio Pacifici, San Dona' Di Piave
Friday 26 February (6.05pm) – live on Sky Sports 3
Kingston Park, Newcastle
Tickets are available here or on the gate: https://www.eticketing.co.uk/newcastle-falcons/details/event.aspx?itemref=2863
Friday 11 March (7.45pm)
Ashton Gate, Bristol
Tickets are available here: http://tickets.bristol-sport.co.uk/categories/bristolrugbyhome
Friday 18 March (6.45pm local time)
Stade du Hameau, Pau