Mercer and Bayliss start for England U20 against Wales

3 June 2017

Bath Rugby's Zach Mercer and Josh Bayliss have been named in the England U20 starting line-up for their second game of the World Rugby U20 Championship against Wales in Georgia, kick-off 17:30 BST.

Mercer, who scored twice in England's opener against Samoa starts at number eight, alongside Bayliss, who will wear the number seven jersey.

Max Malins captains the side from fly-half, while there are also starts for centre Theo Brophy Clews and winger Sam Aspland-Robinson. Ben Earl also starts for England in a backrow that includes Mercer and Bayliss.

England won their opening game of the Championship, scoring 12 tries in a 74-14 victory over Samoa. However, head coach Ian Vass is expecting a stern test off Wales and wants to see an improvement from England on Sunday.

Vass said: “Wales always want to beat us physically as well as on the scoreboard so I think the main thing that is going to come our way is a well-coached tactical team who are very motivated to beat us.” 

“Yes we did attack well against Samoa and score some good tries but I think there is more to come from the attack and defensively we weren’t happy with the amount of points we conceded. So in training we’ve tidied some things up in attack and need to make sure we defend for the full 80 minutes.”

Backs Ali Crossdale and Dominic Morris have been ruled out of the remainder of the 2017 World Rugby U20 Championship through injury. The Saracens pair sustained hamstring injuries in England’s win over Samoa on Wednesday and they will be replaced in the 28-man squad by Sale Sharks’ Paolo Odogwu and Bath’s Darren Atkins.

Vass paid tribute to Crossdale and Morris – who both scored two tries against Samoa. “It’s really disappointing for them, in the first game as well; and they didn’t really get to experience tournament life,” he said. “They both played really well in the game so it is a big loss to lose two very good, exciting players with talent and speed."

Odogwu and Atkins will arrive in Georgia ahead of England’s Pool A game against Australia on Thursday 8 June. “It’s exciting for them,” added Vass. “They’ve got a massive opportunity because they are going to have to play at some point. It’s also exciting for us as they are both very good players and will add a different aspect to our game.”

England U20 team to face Wales

15. Tom Parton (London Irish)

14. Sam Aspland-Robinson (Harlequins)

13. Max Wright (Yorkshire Carnegie)

12. Theo Brophy Clews (London Irish)

11. Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins)

10. Max Malins (Saracens) captain

9. Harry Randall (Gloucester Rugby)

1. Ralph Adams-Hale (Saracens)

2. Henry Walker (Gloucester Rugby)

3. Ciaran Knight (Gloucester Rugby)

4. Jack Nay (Saracens)

5. Justin Clegg (Worcester Warriors)

6. Josh Bayliss (Bath Rugby)

7. Ben Earl (Saracens)

8. Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby)


16. Joe Mullis (Gloucester Rugby)

17. Ollie Dawe (Bristol Rugby)

18. Marcus Street (Exeter Chiefs)

19. Josh Caulfield (Exeter Chiefs)

20. Max Davies (Newcastle Falcons)

21. Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints)

22. Jacob Umaga (Wasps)

23. Will Butler (Worcester Warriors) 

You can watch England U20 take on Wales U20 live at


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