England Under-20s coach impressed with Warriors pair

England Under-20s Head Coach Steve Bates has been impressed with the progress made by Warriors pair James Scott and Kai Owen this season.

Lock Scott and loosehead prop Owen both impressed in England’s 35-8 victory over South Africa at Coventry on Friday and enhanced their prospects of being named in the squad for the World Rugby Under-20s Championship in Argentina in June.

Scott, who played in last year’s tournament, was an England regular in this season’s Under-20s Six Nations but Owen is a newcomer at this level.

Only 12 months ago Owen was overlooked by the England Counties Under-20s selectors but he impressed playing for Cavaliers at the end of last season, was given a second chance in the Three Pears Warriors Academy and he has not looked back since.

“We have known Scotty for a while. He came through the Junior World Championships last year and he runs the lineout really well which is a crucial role,” Bates said.

“He does that role with real certainty which is important for a team particularly when you have people coming in and out all the time. You need someone to be rock solid there.

“He’s worked hard at other areas of his game. He’s much more physical which is going to be a factor if you are going to play second row at the top level. You have got to be robust and he’s making really good progress.

“Kai has been absolutely fantastic. From when I saw him early season playing Premiership Shield rugby to coming into the Six Nations, carrying the ball, running freely in open spaces and looking confident.

“Importantly he can scrummage too at a good level. There is still lots of work to do but he’s a very good prospect.

“Sometimes it’s about luck and getting opportunity. If you get a few games for Warriors in the Prem Shield you grow in confidence and you get the opportunity to be coached by more knowledgeable coaches. In Kai’s case it’s just snowballed.”

England will announce their World Championship squad on May 7 and it is possible that Warriors will have a third player in it.

Blindside flanker Ted Hill, who has already been capped by England at senior level, played in the first two matches in this season’s Under-20 Six Nations and captained the side against France.

Hill’s inclusion in Warriors’ Gallagher Premiership matchday squad meant that he missed England’s subsequent matches and Friday’s win over the Junior Springboks but Bates is hopeful he will be available to travel to Argentina.

“We would like to think that we would have him but it depends what Eddie Jones feels about that. If you add Ted to this mix it gives you supreme pace in the pack,” Bates said.

“The good thing is that we have got pretty much two players in every position who can really contribute which is a necessity when you are going into this World Championship.”