England are one of three sides that can win the 2018 Under-20 Six Nations as the tournament heads for a thrilling conclusion at the Ricoh Arena this evening (KO 8pm).
France currently lead the way, despite their defeat to England in round four, and Les Bleuets head to Colwyn Bay in Wales knowing that a bonus-point victory should secure them the Championship.
England welcome Ireland to Coventry hoping that they can pick up the leftovers should France stumble in Wales, while the Irish also have an outside shot of the crown if they can claim a bonus-point victory at the Ricoh Arena.
Steve Bates makes two changes from the side that downed Les Bleuets last time out, with Ben Loader moving to wing in a backline reshuffle and this sees Tom Hardwick switch to inside centre and James Grayson at will start at fly-half.
Bates ‘feeling confident’
“We came into this tournament with a very clear objective to improve every game with the aim that we could win the Six Nations and we’ve now got to that point,” Bates said.
“However, we’re just focused now on Ireland and putting in a really strong performance that allows us to win the game and we’ll see where that leaves us at the end of the tournament.
“There’s a mathematical possibility that we can still lift the Six Nations trophy, but we’ve just got to concentrate on delivering a really good performance against Ireland. If we play well and execute what we’ve practiced in training we will give ourselves a good chance of securing victory.
“We’re expecting to play in wet conditions so we’ve got to be clever with our territory by concentrating on our accuracy at set pieces and creating a high tempo.
“I’ve not been to the Ricoh Arena before. I hear there will be a strong crowd there to cheer us on and being a former Wasps player myself, I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s like.
“It should be a really exciting fixture at a Premiership stadium and we’re hoping for a big crowd which will in turn inspire the players of both teams.”
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) March 14, 2018
England U20 Six Nations fixtures and results:
Italy v England: 17-27
England v Wales: 37-12
Scotland v England: 24-17
France v England : 6-22
15. Jordan Olowofela (Leicester Tigers), 14. Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins), 13. Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints), 12. Tom Hardwick (Leicester Tigers), 11. Ben Loader (London Irish), 10. James Grayson (Northampton Saints), 9. Ben White (Leicester Tigers); 1. Toby Trinder (Northampton Saints), 2. Henry Walker (Gloucester Rugby), 3. Marcus Street (Exeter Chiefs), 4. Dino Lamb (Harlequins), 5. James Scott (Worcester Warriors), 6. Josh Basham (London Irish), 7. Ben Earl (capt) (Saracens), 8. Sam Moore (Sale Sharks)
16: Gabriel Oghre (Wasps), 17: Alex Seville (Gloucester Rugby), 18: Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers), 19: Sam Lewis (Leicester Tigers), 20: Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors), 21: Rory Brand (London Irish), 22: Will Butler (Worcester Warriors), 23: Tom Seabrook (Gloucester Rugby)