Hampshire duo Joe Batley (ex Gosport & Fareham RFC) and Joe Marchant (ex-Winchester RFC) have been named in the England Under 20 squad to defend their world title in Northern Italy next month (June 2-20) writes Brian Seeney.


Jon Callard, England U20 Head Coach, whose side is aiming for a third consecutive championship win, has named a tournament squad which includes a number of experienced players as England take on France, Wales and Japan in the pool stages.


Batley (oictured right), now with Gloucester Rugby and Marchant (left) now with Harlequins, were both part of the England set-up that has just won the Under 20 Six Nations title.


Callard said: “We have a good balance of experience, with players returning from last year and the new group coming in.


“For the entire squad it is a huge honour to represent their country in a world championship.


"Some of the players are only a year behind those who have come through and been capped at senior level this year. The likes of George Ford, Jack Nowell and Owen Farrell have all made the immediate step-up in recent years and they are now an inspiration for this group. Crucial to the development of players is the partnership with the professional clubs and their respective academies and that is a vital link across all our programmes.”



England may well head to Italy with a Six Nations title to their name but Callard will be looking for England to step-up another gear on the world stage.


“We had a good Six Nations but we didn’t hit our full potential or perform as well as we would have liked,” he added.


“We had some tough games, and to come through them and win was a credit to the players. I am confident now with the right preparation, and players coming back from injury, that we will get the mix we need and another 25-30 percent out of our performances, certainly with ball in hand and in attack.


“Of course, we have got a very tough pool to get through. In the Six Nations, we were undone by a very good Welsh team who managed the conditions better than we did. Against France, we played well, particularly in the second half, and we’ll need to do that again if we are to beat them this time around. Japan will be well organised and drilled. They will bring huge energy and passion and will be loyal and committed. It is certainly going to be an exciting campaign.”


On June 2 England play Japan and on June 6 face Wales - both games in the Stadio San Michele Calvisano. Then on June 10 it's England v France in the Stadio Luigi Zaffanella Viadana.


England U20s Championship Squad

Sebastian Adeniran-Olule (Harlequins)

Joe Batley (Gloucester)

Charles Beckett (Leicester)

James Chisholm (Harlequins)

Maxwell Clark (Bath)

Lloyd Evans (Gloucester)

Charlie Ewels (Captain, Bath)

Ellis Genge (Bristol)

Paul Hill (Yorkshire)

Owen Hills (Leicester)

Jack Innard (Exeter)

Rory Jennings (Bath)

Lewis Ludlam (Northampton)

Joe Marchant (Harlequins)

James Mitchell (Sale)

Aaron Morris (Saracens)

Piers O'Conor (Wasps)

William Owen (Leicester)

Howard Packman (Northampton)

Ciaran Parker (Sale)

George Perkins (Saracens)

Samuel Skinner (Exeter)

Nick Tompkins (Saracens)

Stuart Townsend (Exeter)

Kieran Treadwell (Harlequins)

Jack Walker (Yorkshire)

William Witty (Newcastle).

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