Zach Mercer starts for England U20 against Wales U20

8 February 2017

After an influential display for England U20 on the opening weekend of the U20 Six Nations, Bath Rugby's Zach Mercer will line-up at number eight in this Friday's game against Wales at Eirias Park, kick-off 19:15.  

Mercer played an integral role in the 59-17 victory over France and will be joined in the squad by Club teammate Josh Bayliss, who will be looking to make his impact from the replacements. 

Justin Clegg, Gabriel Ibitoye and Jacob Umaga will start for the first time, in place of Jack Nay, Sam Aspland-Robinson and Max Malins.

Malins was named man-of-the-match in England’s bonus-point victory over France on Saturday and has been called up by Saracens ahead of their Aviva Premiership match with Worcester Warriors.

The number 10 is replaced by 18-year-old Umaga who came on as a replacement at centre against France and recently made his senior debut at fly half for Wasps in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.

Ibitoye replaces Harlequins team-mate Aspland-Robinson on the wing while Worcester Warriors second-row Clegg comes in for Nay.

England U20 coach Ian Vass said: “We now have a platform to work from in this competition, however we have been fully focused this week on how we can improve against Wales on Friday. An important part of player development is adapting to win in different situations and Friday will be another test for this group.”

Six of England’s eight try-scorers from the weekend remain in the starting XV with Saracens flanker Ben Earl captaining the side for a second time. 

Sale Sharks hooker Curtis Langdon could make his fourth England U20 appearance after he was named among the replacements alongside Northampton Saints’ 18-year-old fly half James Grayson and Saracens centre Dominic Morris.

The sold-out fixture at Eirias Park is being televised live on BBC Two Wales and is available in the rest of the UK on Satellite channel 971. Alternatively, the match is available live on the BBC iPlayer here

England U20 squad to face Wales U20:

15. Tom Parton (London Irish)
14. Joe Cokanasiga (London Irish)
13. Max Wright (Yorkshire Carnegie)
12. Will Butler (Worcester Warriors)
11. Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins)
10. Jacob Umaga (Wasps)
9. Harry Randall (Gloucester Rugby)
8. Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby)
7. Ben Earl (Saracens – captain)
6. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks)
5. Justin Clegg (Worcester Warriors)
4. Nick Isiekwe (Saracens)
3. Joseph Morris (Worcester Warriors)
2. Joe Mullis (Gloucester Rugby)
1. Ollie Dawe (Bristol Rugby)


16. Curtis Langdon (Sale Sharks)
17. Alex Seville (Gloucester Rugby)
18. Ciaran Knight (Gloucester Rugby)
19. Josh Caulfield (Exeter Chiefs)
20. Josh Bayliss (Bath Rugby)
21. Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints)
22. James Grayson (Northampton Saints)
23. Dominic Morris (Saracens)

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