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Academy trio to start in tonight's Junior World Championship Final

Wasps' Hugo Ellis will lead an England U20s side including club mates Joe Simpson and Mark Odejobi, in tonight's IRB Junior World Championship Final against New Zealand.

Wasps Hugo Ellis will lead England U20s in tonight's IRB Junior World Championship

Wasps Hugo Ellis will lead England U20s in tonight's IRB Junior World Championship

The Six Nations champions extended their unbeaten run to nine games this season by beating South Africa 26-18 in Wednesday night's semi-final and now they face the number one seeds at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea (7pm).

England have made two changes to their starting line-up for tonight's game as leading try-scorer Noah Cato (Saracens) switches to full back and London Wasps', Mark Odejobi, starts on the wing after Alex Tait (Newcastle Falcons) was ruled out with an ankle injury.

In the back-row Jon Fisher (London Irish) replaces Matthew Cox (Worcester Warriors) at blind-side. Odejobi's place on the bench is taken by Harlequins wing Seb Stegmann.

England U20 coach Nigel Redman is expecting "one hell of a Test match". The teams met in the group stages at Under-19 level last summer, when the Junior All Blacks won 34-13 on their way to taking the world title and England finished in sixth place.

But any gap between them has vanished this season as England have swept all before them, completing a Six Nations Grand Slam before reeling off four wins in Wales this month against Fiji, Canada, Australia and South Africa.

Going into the tournament as number six seeds handed them the toughest route to the final, but Australia (3rd) and South Africa (2nd) were seen off 18-13 and 26-18 in the space of four days last week.

Now Redman is backing his side to find a way past New Zealand's Super 14 stars in tonight's final.

"New Zealand are an unbelievable side from one through 22 and whether it's a forward problem or a problem with the way they play out wide, we have to come up with solutions," said Redman.

"The likes of [Crusaders wings] Kade Poki and Sean Maitland are outstanding players with a great pedigree, but we''ve got some great players too out wide and that makes it a very special match-up.

"They've got pace out wide, we've got pace out wide; they've got strong forwards, we've got strong forwards. It's going to be one hell of a Test match on Sunday."

Joe Simpson in action against South Africa in the Junior World Championship Semi Final

Joe Simpson in action against South Africa in the Junior World Championship Semi Final

England's wins against Australia and South Africa were earned through a mixture of defensive excellence and forward power.

But the team can threaten from anywhere on the pitch and 41 tries have been scored in nine games ' nine of them supplied by prolific Saracens wing Noah Cato ' by a team that can play in a variety of styles to suit the conditions.

"I'd be disappointed if people looked at us and said we were a forward-oriented side, because I really don't think we are," said Redman. "We've got talent out wide, which we use, and the forwards are athletic, good ball-carriers and decision-makers. It's something we work hard on.

"We've played Fiji, who were a physical side, Canada, who were physical too, and Australia, who were a terrific team. So far we've beaten the number three seeds, beaten the number two seeds and now we face the number one seeds and it's the first time an England team has got to an age-group final.

"New Zealand are always the ultimate test at any level and they have brought a terrific team. Against them we've got to do what we do much better."

Looking ahead to the game U20s captain and Wasps number 8 Hugo Ellis added, "We know how good New Zealand are and I think the best two sides in the tournament have made the final. One of our strengths is that we can play as the conditions demand: we are not wedded to one style, but we appreciate that on Sunday errors have to be kept to a minimum.

"We have had the harder path to the final having had to overcome Australia and South Africa. I hope that will work in our favour, but the bottom line is that we are going to have to put in our best performance of the year to make it 10 wins out of 10 and we are good enough."

Tonight's game is broadcast live on S4C and Eurosport 2 with highlights on BBC2 Wales (Sky Channel 991) at 10.40pm.

England Under 20 team

15 Noah Cato (Saracens)
14 Mark Odejobi (London Wasps)
13 Luke Eves (Bristol Rugby)

Mark Odejobi dives in for a try against Canada U20s

Mark Odejobi dives in for a try against Canada U20s

12 Jordan Turner-Hall (Harlequins)
11 Miles Benjamin (Worcester Warriors)
10 Alex Goode (Saracens)
9 Joe Simpson (London Wasps)
1 Nathan Catt (Bath Rugby)
2 Joe Gray (Northampton Saints)
3 Alex Corbisiero (London Irish)
4 Ben Thomas (Saracens)
5 Gregor Gillanders (Leicester Tigers)
6 Jon Fisher (London Irish)
7 Calum Clark (Leeds Carnegie)
8 Hugo Ellis (London Wasps, captain)

Replacements
16 Scott Freer (Leeds Carnegie)
17 Billy Moss (Bath Rugby)
18 Scott Hobson (Cornish Pirates)
19 Matthew Cox (Worcester Warriors)
20 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
21 Rob Miller (Newcastle Falcons)
22 Seb Stegmann (Harlequins)