Bassett and Ransom start with Nutley on the bench
BEDFORD Blues winger and former Barton and Harlington schoolboy Josh Bassett has been name in England U20’s starting XV for tomorrow’s fifth place semi-final against Ireland in the IRB Junior World Championship.
Dual-registered team-mate Ben Ransom starts at full-back, while ex-Luton Rugby starlet Ben Nutley has been named on the bench as England make nine changes from the side that lost out to South Africa.
England beat Ireland 20-15 earlier in the tournament and 20-9 in this season’s U20 Six Nations, but captain Chris Walker says that this game promises to be a tough one.
“The conditions were pretty poor last time we played each other,” he said. “Hopefully on a dry patch we’ll be able to play more of an expansive game, but this will be the third time we’ve played the Irish this year and we know what a good side they are.
“They pushed us hard a week ago and we’re looking forward to going out there and giving it our best. We were pretty down after the loss against South Africa but good teams learn from their defeats and we’re hoping to bounce back against Ireland.”
Head Coach Rob Hunter added: “We’re looking forward to seeing how the lads react. We’ve freshened the side up and the lads are keen to get back on the pitch and play some rugby.”
England U20 v Ireland U20: 1 Alec Hepburn (London Wasps), 2 Nathan Morris (London Wasps), 3 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins), 4 Dominic Barrow (Leeds Carnegie), 5 George Merrick (Harlequins), 6 David Sisi (London Irish), 7 Chris Walker (C, Leeds Carnegie), 8 Jack Clifford (Harlequins), 9 Ben Spencer (Saracens), 10 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), 11 Josh Bassett (Bedford Blues), 12 Ryan Mills (Gloucester Rugby), 13 Sam Hill (Exeter Chiefs), 14 Will Addison (Sale Sharks), 15 Ben Ransom (Saracens). Replacements: 16 Max Crumpton (Saracens), 17 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), 18 Ross Harrison (Sale Sharks), 19 Billy Vunipola (London Wasps), 20 Ben Nutley (Northampton), 21 Dan Robson (Gloucester Rugby), 22 Tommy Bell (London Wasps), 23 Marland Yarde (London Irish).