29 January 2014, 12:52pm
Four Bath Rugby Academy players have been named in the England Under 20s squad to face France in the opening game of their Six Nations campaign (kick-off 7.55pm GMT) at the Stade Leo Lagrange in Draguignan.
Charlie Ewels starts in the second row, while hooker Tom Woolstencroft, tighthead Adam Jamieson and blindside flanker Tom Ellis take their place on the bench.
It is the first time the quartet have been selected in the Under 20s squad, and Bath Rugby Academy Director Danny Grewcock says he is delighted with the young players' progression.
"It's a pleasing reflection on the hard work the boys have put in," said Grewcock of their selection. "Tom and Charlie have been through the England programme before, and all four have been key to Bath's A League success this year. This is testament to the Club's commitment to nurturing homegrown talent and I'm sure the boys will be competing for first team places in the near future."
Seven members of England's 23-man squad have previous Under 20s experience, while 11 played for England Under 18s last season. Head Coach Nick Walshe will be hoping for a fourth successive title, but says that performance is key.
"Playing France in France is about as tough as you can get in the Six Nations," Walshe said. "We played them twice last season and performed well on both occasions. Will that have a bearing on Friday night? We'd like to think so, but we need to execute our basics well and the rest will take care of itself."
England Under 20s side to play France:
15 Nathan Earle (Saracens)
14 Zach Kibirige (Newcastle Falcons)
13 Nick Tompkins (Saracens)
12 Tom Stephenson (Northampton Saints)
11 Henry Purdy (Leicester Tigers)
10 Billy Burns (Gloucester Rugby)
9 Callum Braley (Bristol Rugby, captain)
1 Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi (Northampton Saints)
2 Harry Thacker (Leicester Tigers)
3 Paul Hill (Leeds Carnegie)
4 Maro Itoje (Saracens)
5 Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby)
6 Ross Moriarty (Gloucester Rugby)
7 Joel Conlon (Exeter Chiefs)
8 James Chisholm (Harlequins)
16 Tom Woolstencroft (Bath Rugby)
17 Alex Lundberg (London Wasps)
18 Adam Jamieson (Bath Rugby)
19 Tom Ellis (Bath Rugby)
20 Will Owen (Leicester Tigers)
21 Henry Taylor (Loughborough University)
22 Sam Olver (Northampton Saints)
23 Howard Packman (Northampton Saints)