Feb 07, 2019
Kpoku in line to face France U20
Joel Kpoku will go head-to-head with world champions France once again after being selected at second row for England Under-20s’ Six Nations clash with them at Sandy Park on Saturday (KO 12H05).
The lock is one of five players who faced Les Bleu in the final of the World Rugby U20 Championship in June and is part of an unchanged 20s pack.
Head Coach Steve Bates said: “There was a lot of disappointment at the start of the week off the back of Friday’s result but we’ve trained really well and the players are looking forward to getting out there on Saturday and performing in front of a vocal Sandy Park crowd.
“The game against France in the final of the World Rugby U20 Championship will have a little bearing at the weekend but the nature of U20s rugby is that it is ever evolving and players change rapidly so although a portion of our squad would have played in that final our motivation is to kick-start our Six Nations with an important victory.
“We know we didn’t look after the ball well enough last week, played from too deep and lacked a bit of organisation which you would expect from a new group at this stage in the tournament. So we’ve worked hard on our understanding and our team work. We’ve had a good preparation and want to go out and continue to play high-tempo, high-intensity rugby but get the balance right.
“Home advantage will be really important, we’re hoping for a large crowd and we have to get them on our side by playing some good rugby but controlling the game a little bit more. We’ve got to excite that crowd by having confidence to play what we’ve practiced because we feel that’s the best way for these guys to perform and if we do that and do that consistently the crowd will enjoy it.”
15. Josh Hodge (Newcastle Falcons)
14. Ollie Sleightholme (Northampton Saints)
13. Ollie Lawrence (Worcester Warriors)
12. Cameron Redpath (Sale Sharks)
11. Arron Reed (Sale Sharks)
10. Marcus Smith (Harlequins)
9. Sam Maunder (Exeter Chiefs)
1. Olly Adkins (Gloucester)
2. Nic Dolly (Sale Sharks)
3. Marcus Street (Exeter Chiefs)
4. Joel Kpoku (Saracens)
5. Alex Coles (Northampton Saints)
6. Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors)
7. Aaron Hinkley (Gloucester)
8. Tom Willis (Wasps)
16. Ben Atkins (London Irish)
17. Kai Owen (Worcester Warriors)
18. Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers)
19. James Scott (Worcester Warriors)
20. Rusiate Tuima (Exeter Chiefs)
21. Ollie Fox (Yorkshire Carnegie)
22. Tom Hardwick (Leicester Tigers)
23. Tom de Glanville (Bath Rugby)