Gabriel Oghre and Tom Willis in England U20 side to play Junior Springboks
Date: 10 May 2018
England U20s head coach Steve Bates has named Wasps' Gabriel Oghre and Tom Willis in his side to face the Junior Springboks on Friday (KO 7.30pm BST) at Worcester’s Sixways Stadium.
The fixture is crucial preparation ahead of the World Rugby U20 Championship in France (30 May – 17 June).
Second-row forward Joel Kpoku will make his England U20 debut, while replacements Luke James and Sam Morley are set to do likewise off the bench. Alex Seville, Wasps' Gabriel Oghre and Joe Heyes make up England’s front row.
Kpoku is partnered in the second row by James Scott while the side will be captained by scrum half Ben White who is partnered at half back by James Grayson.
The midfield sees Fraser Dingwall and Ollie Lawrence paired together with Ben Loader, Tom Seabrook as well as Tom Parton England’s back three.
England, who were beaten finalists in last year’s World Rugby U20 Championship in Georgia, also more recently finished runners-up in the 2018 U20 Six Nations Championship.
2016 World Rugby U20 Championship winners England will face Argentina in Narbonne (30 May, 5.30 KO BST) as well as Italy (3 June, 3.30 KO BST) in Perpignan and Scotland (7 June, 8pm KO BST) in Pool B at Beziers' Stade de la Méditerranée.
Narbonne and Perpignan will host the semi-finals and ranking play-offs on 12 June, with Béziers hosting all finals day matches on 17 June across two pitches.
England U20s have faced the Junior Springboks in successive semi-finals in the tournament, defeating them 39-17 in 2016 and 24-22 in 2017.
Steve Bates said: “Playing South Africa is really going to focus everyone’s attention before the World Rugby U20 Championship and will provide us with valuable playing time before the tournament begins.
“This fixture also gives us an opportunity to finalise our squad for the tournament in France as well as get the players together to start preparing for the challenges ahead.
“During the Six Nations we played well in patches and now the aim for us is to turn up the heat and play at a consistently high level.”
15. Tom Parton (London Irish)
14. Tom Seabrook (Gloucester Rugby)
13. Ollie Lawrence (Worcester Warriors)
12. Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints)
11. Ben Loader (London Irish)
10. James Grayson (Northampton Saints)
9. Ben White capt (Leicester Tigers)
1. Alex Seville (Gloucester Rugby)
2. Gabriel Oghre (Wasps)
3. Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers)
4. Joel Kpoku (Saracens)
5. James Scott (Worcester Warriors)
6. Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors)
7. Aaron Hinkley (Gloucester Rugby)
8. Tom Willis (Wasps)
16. Henry Walker (Gloucester Rugby)
17. Toby Trinder (Northampton Saints)
18. Ehren Painter (Northampton Saints)
19. Sam Lewis (Leicester Tigers)
20. Josh Basham (London Irish)
21. Rory Brand (London Irish)
22. Sam Morley (Exeter Chiefs)
23. Luke James (Sale Sharks)