May 28, 2018
Crossdale and Kpoku handed England U20 starts
Ali Crossdale and Joel Kpoku have been named in England Under-20s’ starting XV for their World Rugby U20 Championship opener against Argentina.
The duo will take on the young Pumas on Wednesday in Narbonne (17H30 KO).
Crossdale is one of four starters who will be appearing at their second tournament and features on the wing, while Kpoku made his debut against South Africa last time out and begins in the row.
England U20s have reached the final in five consecutive years, winning three (2013, 2014, 2016) and since 2008 they have reached eight out of the 10 finals, including last year in Georgia.
Following Wednesday’s fixture England face Italy (3 June, 15H00) in Perpignan and Scotland (7 June, 20H00) in Pool B at Beziers' Stade de la Méditerranée.
Head coach Steve Bates said: “We’ve had a really good period of preparation ahead of this tournament with a hugely beneficial fixture against South Africa and a training session with Wales.
“It’s really helped to focus the minds of the players and we’ve seen a further improvement in training ahead of our first match of the championship against Argentina.
“I want to see us play with a bit more patience on Wednesday, I don’t want us to lower our intensity, but if we play as we did during the Six Nations then we have the ability to create a lot of opportunities and we need to be patient in how we execute those chances.
“We know the importance of winning every game in this tournament, and we need to go out on Wednesday with a real intent to get this campaign off to a positive start.
“We have an excellent squad of players, every position is competitive and this is an exciting England team that I’m looking forward to seeing perform on the world stage.”
15. Tom Parton (London Irish)
14. Ali Crossdale (Saracens)
13. Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints)
12. Tom Hardwick (Leicester Tigers)
11. Jordan Olowofela (Leicester Tigers)
10. James Grayson (Northampton Saints)
9. Ben White (Leicester Tigers)
1. Toby Trinder (Northampton Saints)
2. Henry Walker (Gloucester Rugby)
3. Ehren Painter (Northampton Saints)
4. Joel Kpoku (Saracens)
5. James Scott (Worcester Warriors)
6. Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors)
7. Ben Curry (Sale Sharks) – captain
8. Josh Basham (London Irish)
16. Beck Cutting (Worcester Warriors)
17. Alex Seville (Gloucester Rugby)
18. Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers)
19. Sam Lewis (Leicester Tigers)
20. Tom Willis (Wasps)
21. Rory Brand (London Irish)
22. Marcus Smith (Harlequins)
23. Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins)