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Five young Wasps named for England U20s

Elliot Daly, Sam Jones, Billy Vunipola, Christian Wade and Jack Wallace have all been selecting in the England Under 20 Elite Player Squad

Christian Wade in full flight

Christian Wade in full flight

The 32-man group will compete in the Under 20 RBS 6 Nations in the New Year before heading for the IRB Junior World Championship in Italy next June.

Head coach Rob Hunter, assisted by Diccon Edwards, can call on nine players previously capped at this level, seven of whom appeared at this year’s Junior World Championship in Argentina.

The new faces include last season’s England U18 captain George Ford (Leicester Tigers), the 17-year-old who last season became the youngest player to appear in a professional club game, and Saracens centre Owen Farrell.

Ford is the son of England defence coach Mike Ford and Farrell the son of rugby league legend Andy Farrell, who won eight caps for England in 2007 and currently coaches at Saracens and with England Saxons.

Also named in the squad are two brothers in the shape of 19-year-old prop Mako Vunipola (Bristol) and 17-year-old flanker Billy Vunipola (London Wasps).

Hunter takes over as head coach from Mark Mapletoft while Edwards steps up after joining the Rugby Football Union from Leeds Carnegie.

Hunter said, "It’s a very talented group, competition for places has been very high and there are some good players who missed out on a place in the 32 who will continue to push for inclusion. Within the squad there’s a great blend of skill, pace and power and we can’t wait to see them wearing the England jersey.

Billy Vunipola bursts through a gap against Worthing

Billy Vunipola bursts through a gap against Worthing

"It’s an exciting time to be involved with a new management team and a new squad coming together. The England Under 18 team has set a standard of playing at pace in recent years and we are looking forward to building on that and the excellent work being done in the regional academies.

"The England age group programmes are a key part of developing future international players and the progress made by the likes of Courtney Lawes and Ben Youngs into the England senior team last season is testimony to that."

England finished second on points difference behind Ireland in the 2010 U20 RBS 6 Nations and fourth at this year’s Junior World Championship in Argentina.
Preparations for this season start with training camps in September, December and January before the U20 RBS 6 Nations kicks off against Wales in February.

RFU Head of Elite Player Development Stuart Lancaster said, "We think this is a very strong squad with competition for places in each position and it reflects well on the work the regional academies are doing.

"A lot of these players have come through our age group international programme and that reflects how well the development pathway is working with players progressing through from the 18s into the Under 20s and then hopefully pushing for places in the Senior and Saxons EPS Squads.

"The goal is to develop players for the England senior side but the goal is also to win the Junior World Championship and this squad has the potential to do that. They can start by putting the foundations in place and acquiring that winning mentality during the Six Nations."

England U20 Elite Player Squad

Forwards

Ryan Bower (Leicester Tigers)
Koree Britton (Gloucester Rugby)
Rob Buchanan (Harlequins)*
Will Collier (Harlequins)
Matt Everard (Leicester Tigers)
Alex Gray (Newcastle Falcons)*
Jonny Harris (Leicester Tigers)
Sam Jones (London Wasps)
Matt Kvesic (Worcester Warriors)
Addison Lockley (Exeter Chiefs)
Kieran Low (London Irish)
Charlie Matthews (Harlequins)*
Ollie Stedman (Leeds Carnegie)
Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks)
Sam Twomey (Harlequins)
Billy Vunipola (London Wasps)
Mako Vunipola (Bristol Rugby)*

Backs

Chris Cook (Bath Rugby)
Elliot Daly (London Wasps)
Owen Farrell (Saracens)
George Ford (Leicester Tigers)
Jonathan Joseph (London Irish)*
Ryan Mills (Gloucester Rugby)
Ben Ransom (Saracens)
Dan Robson (Gloucester Rugby)
Jake Sharp (Saracens)*
Andy Short (Worcester Warriors)
Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers)
Christian Wade (London Wasps)*
Jack Wallace (London Wasps)*
Marcus Watson (London Irish)*
Marland Yarde (London Irish)

*Capped by England at U20 level last season

More Pictures

Christian Wade in full flight
Jack Wallace on the attack against Glasgow Warriors
Billy Vunipola bursts through a gap against Worthing
Sam Jones beats a tackle against Worthing
Elliot Daly in action against Leinster
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