Mercer and Bayliss starts in opening World Rugby U20 Championship game

30 May 2017

Zach Mercer and Josh Bayliss have been named in England’s starting line-up for the opening match of this year’s World Rugby U20 Championship against Samoa in Georgia tomorrow, kick-off 10:00 BST.

London Irish fly-half Theo Brophy-Clews captains the side, while two members of last year’s winning World Rugby U20 Championship squad – Max Malins and Harry Randall – are among the replacements.

Harlequins’ Dino Lamb, capped eight times at England Under 18 level, makes his debut in the second row.

After missing out on England’s U20 Six Nations Grand Slam through injury, Saracens’ Ali Crossdale returns to make his debut on the wing.

Head coach Ian Vass says he is expecting a tough, physical battle from Samoa.

“We’ve picked a team we believe can do a job against Samoa, bearing in mind it’s a long tournament and everyone is going to have to play at some point,” said Vass.

“Samoa have a lot of talented individual players who can run and score from anywhere on the field. They are very strong physically, carrying and tackling.”

The squad arrived in Tbilisi on Saturday and Vass says the side are eager to get the tournament started.

He added: “We want to see the lads put into practice everything we’ve been working on with them since before Christmas.

“We want to see them playing together as a team and defending as a team also working as hard as they can. If they do that then we have some good players who can make things happen. Really we just want them to put in a performance they can be pleased with.”

Tour captain Zach Mercer is also named in the starting line-up, playing at number eight for England on Wednesday, and Vass says he expects the Bath forward to lead by example on Wednesday.

“Zach is one of more experienced players; he played in the tournament last year and has played a lot of Premiership games this year,” he said. “He talks a lot to the team and leads by example with his actions on the field."

The match will be will be streamed live on with the highlights shown on ITV4 on Wednesday 31st May.

England U20 team to face Samoa

15. Tom Parton (London Irish)

14. Ali Crossdale (Saracens)

13. Dominic Morris (Saracens)

12. Will Butler (Worcester Warriors)

11. Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins)

10. Theo Brophy-Clews (London Irish) captain

9. Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints)

1. Ollie Dawe (Bristol Rugby)

2. Jamie Blamire (Newcastle Falcons)

3. Marcus Street (Exeter Chiefs)

4. Josh Caulfield (Exeter Chiefs)

5. Dino Lamb (Harlequins)

6. Max Davies (Newcastle Falcons)

7. Josh Bayliss (Bath Rugby)

8. Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby)


16. Henry Walker (Gloucester Rugby)

17. Alex Seville (Gloucester Rugby)

18. Ciaran Knight (Gloucester Rugby)

19. Justin Clegg (Worcester Warriors)

20. Joe Mullis (Gloucester Rugby)

21. Harry Randall (Gloucester Rugby)

22. Max Malins (Saracens)

23. Jacob Umaga (Wasps)

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