Saracens trio in England U20 squad to face France

PUBLISHED: 14:48 30 January 2020

Saracens' Manu Vunipola

Saracens' Manu Vunipola

PA Wire/PA Images

Three Saracens youngsters have been named in the England under-20 matchday squad for their Six Nations opener against France.

Hooker Theo Dan and fly-half Manu Vunipola will be in the starting line-up in Grenoble, while Harvey Beaton is among the replacements and coach Alan Dickens is expecting a tough start.

He said: "There is a huge challenge ahead for us on Saturday against a France side who are back-to-back World Rugby U20 Champions and they will be under pressure to perform in front of their home supporters.

"I've coached teams to play in France before and this will be a great experience for the players. It is usually a hostile atmosphere, they are hugely patriotic when it comes to rugby, and we are expecting no different in Grenoble.

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"We need to have the ability to adapt, games of rugby are won by the team that can tactically adapt during the 80 minutes and that has been a big focus for us.

"Ultimately though you always have to go back to why we play rugby and that is for enjoyment and I want the players to remember that on Saturday night. If we enjoy it, get our processes right we will get the result.

"The attitude, skill level and commitment of the players in the time we've had together has been fantastic and I'm looking forward to seeing them put all that hard work into an 80 minute performance on Saturday."

England: Hodge (Newcastle), Hamer-Webb (Bath), Doherty (Sale), Ojomoh (Bath), Roebuck (Sale), Vunipola (Saracens), Maunder (Exeter); Whitcombe (Leicester), Dan (Saracens), Green (London Irish), Hammond (Harlequins), Donnell (London Irish), Tonks (Northampton), Capstick (Exeter), Tuima (Exeter). Replacements: Atkins (London Irish), Iyogun (Northampton), Beaton (Saracens), Tizard (Harlequins), Clement (Gloucester), Van Poortvliet (Leicester), Barton (Gloucester), Steward (Leicester).

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