England U20s to play Junior Springboks in Coventry
Date: 22 Mar 2019
England U20s will play the Junior Springboks at Coventry Rugby’s Butts Park Arena on Friday 26 April (KO 7.30pm).
Wasps Academy players Tom Willis and Alfie Barbeary were recently involved in England U20s Six Nations campaign that saw them finish third. The duo are likely to be involved with England U20s later in the year.
The fixture against the Junior Springboks will serve as vital preparation ahead of the World Rugby U20 Championship in June.
It will also provide players a final opportunity to earn selection for the Championship, which is being hosted by Argentina.
It is the second-successive year that England have played South Africa ahead of the World Rugby U20 Championship, having taken them on at Worcester’s Sixways Stadium in 2018.
England have been drawn in Pool B and will face Ireland (4 June), Italy (8 June) and Australia (12 June) in Argentina.
They are led by England U20s Head Coach Steve Bates, who is assisted by Mark Hopley (forwards), James Scaysbrook (defence) and Richard Whiffin (attack) who join for the season as part of the coach development programme agreement with Premiership Rugby.
Steve Bates said: “The period of time between the end of the Six Nations and going to the World Rugby U20 Championship is quite considerable so in order to try and bridge that gap we’ve got two training camps, one of which will see us play this international fixture against the Junior Springboks.
“The game will keep the players focused on what we’ve been doing over the Six Nations period, but also gives us a chance to look at potential players for the World Rugby U20 Championship, particularly in positions where we have selection dilemmas to resolve.
“Last year the fixture was very beneficial as South Africa were very robust and it gave our players an idea of the quality of opposition they’d be coming up against at the U20 Championship, while also giving them confidence of their ability against that type of opponent so it prepares us on a number of different levels.”
Coventry Rugby chairman Jon Sharp said: "Everyone at the club is excited to be hosting the best up-and-coming talent England and South Africa have to offer. An England game against the Springboks at any level is special and we are sure the city of Coventry will make it a night to remember when the Junior Springboks come to town.
"With Coventry's rich history in developing England internationals our fans will relish the opportunity to see the next generation of England stars as they complete their preparations ahead of the World Rugby U20 Championship.”
Coventry city councillor Kamran Caan, cabinet member for Public Health and Sport said: “Hosting the national team at the Butts Park Arena is more fantastic news for our city and I’m sure local rugby fans will come out in force to support the game. It’s also testament to the growing reputation and status of Coventry Rugby Club that the RFU has chosen to bring the game to Coventry.
“These are really exciting times for Coventry and hosting another major sporting event in our year as European City of Sport is great.”
England U20s v Junior Springboks
Coventry Rugby’s Butts Park Arena, Friday 26 April, KO 7.30pm
Buy tickets here - englandrugby.com/tickets