Owen to start for England Under-20s

Warriors prop Kai Owen will make his first start for England Under-20s in Friday’s Six Nations finale against Scotland at Franklin’s Gardens in Northampton (kick-off 7.45pm).

Owen made his international debut as a replacement against France at Exeter last month and has come off the bench in the subsequent matches against Wales and Italy.

His first start completes a memorable 12 months for the Shropshire-raised Owen who played for North Midlands Under-20s last season but was overlooked by the England Counties Under-20s selectors.

Owen is one of three members of the Three Pears Warriors Academy in England’s starting XV  for Friday’s match.

Lock James Scott, who started against Italy at Bedford last Friday, retains his place and centre Ollie Lawrence returns to international after three appearances off the bench for Warriors in the Gallagher Premiership in the past month.

England Under-20s Head Coach Steve Bates said: “We feel this Friday is a good opportunity to take a closer look at the players who have not had that much involvement during the tournament, while also including those that are returning from Premiership duty. We are mindful that making too many changes will be disruptive so we’ve tried to keep them to a minimum.

“We are still developing our game and have very clear goals in terms of what we want to achieve on the field in terms of performance. What we’re looking for on Friday is a bit more continuity in our play and more consistency in our performance in terms of looking after the ball and managing the game.

“We’ve used a lot of players in the tournament and feel that will be beneficial for us going into the World Rugby U20 Championship in June. We can only take 28 players to the World Rugby U20 Championship and selection is going to be very difficult so for them every opportunity they have to impress us is an important one.”

England Under-20s
15 Tom de Glanville (Bath Rugby)
14 Arron Reed (Sale Sharks)
13 Ollie Lawrence (Worcester Warriors)
12 Cameron Redpath (Sale Sharks)
11 Ollie Hassell-Collins (London Irish)
10 Manu Vunipola (Saracens)
9 Ollie Fox (Yorkshire Carnegie)
1 Kai Owen (Worcester Warriors)
2 Samson Ma’asi (Northampton Saints)
3 Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers)
4 Alex Coles (Northampton Saints)
5 James Scott (Worcester Warriors)
6 Tom Willis (Wasps)
7 Aaron Hinkley (Gloucester Rugby)
8 Rusiate Tuima (Exeter Chiefs)

Replacements:
16 Alfie Barbeary (Wasps)
17 Olly Adkins (Gloucester Rugby)
18 Alfie Petch (Exeter Chiefs)
19 Jon Kpoku (Saracens)
20 Richard Capstick (Exeter Chiefs)
21 Gus Warr (Sale Sharks)
22 Kieran Wilkinson (Sale Sharks)
23 Josh Hodge (Newcastle Falcons)