England have named five of Sale Sharks’ most promising young players in the U20s squad for the World Rugby U20 Championship in South Africa.
Head coach Mark Mapletoft has named forwards Asher Opoku-Fordjour and Tristan Woodman as well as backs Alex Wills, Nye Thomas and Rekeiti Ma’asi-White for the tournament that begins later this month.
Leicester’s Lewis Chessum captains the 30-player squad, which contains nine players yet to make their England U20 debut. All have previously been part of the England Rugby pathways programme.
England men’s U20 head coach, Mark Mapletoft, said: “Congratulations to all players selected. The World Rugby U20 Championship is the peak of the age-grade calendar year and for many this will be the highlight of their rugby journeys so far.
“The players have learned a lot as a team and about themselves this year, including during our Six Nations campaign and on our recent tour of Georgia, and we’ll be better as a group for it. This is the first time since 2019 that the World Rugby U20 Championship has been played, so we’re very excited to take this squad to South Africa and test ourselves against the world’s best teams.
“Our squad reflects the diversity and strength of English rugby with every Premiership club represented, and we trust each player to play with pride every time they pull on an England shirt.”
Preparations for the World Rugby U20 Championship will continue when the side trains at the Honda England Rugby Performance Centre, Pennyhill Park on 17th June.
The tournament, hosted in the Cape Town region, returns for the first time in four years, running from 24 June to 14 July, and featuring the top 12 U20 rugby nations. Played over five match days, England is in Pool B where they will face Ireland, Fiji and Australia.
England match schedule
England men’s U20 v Ireland U20 – Saturday, 24 June – KO 12:30pm BST
England men’s U20 v Fiji U20 – Thursday, 29 June – KO 6:00pm BST
England men’s U20 v Australia U20 – Tuesday, 4 July – KO 1:00pm BST
A full playing schedule is available on the World Rugby website, and tickets to the tournament are available here.
England men’s U20 is part of the England Rugby pathways programme, a vital development tool for future international rugby; of the 48 men’s players capped for England last year, 42 of them played England U20.
England men’s World Rugby U20 Championship squad
Afolabi Fasogbon (London Irish)
Archie McArthur (Gloucester)
Asher Opoku-Fordjour (Sale Sharks)
Chandler Cunningham-South (London Irish)
Craig Wright (Northampton Saints)*
Ethan Clarke (Harlequins)*
Finn Carnduff (Leicester Tigers)
Finn Theobald-Thomas (Gloucester)
Greg Fisilau (Exeter Chiefs)
Harry Browne (Harlequins)
Harvey Cuckson (Bath Rugby)*
James Halliwell (Bristol Bears)*
Lewis Chessum (Leicester Tigers)
Nathan Jibulu (Harlequins)
Nathan Michelow (Saracens)*
Tristan Woodman (Sale Sharks)
Zach Carr (Harlequins)*
Alex Wills (Sale Sharks)*
Cassius Cleaves (Harlequins)
Charlie Bracken (Saracens)
Connor Slevin (Harlequins)*
Jacob Cusick (Leicester Tigers)
Joe Jenkins (Bristol Bears)
Joseph Woodward (Leicester Tigers)
Louie Johnson (Newcastle Falcons)
Nye Thomas (Sale Sharks)
Rekeiti Ma’asi-White (Sale Sharks)
Sam Harris (Bath Rugby)
Tobias Elliott (Saracens)
Toby Thame (Northampton Saints)*
*Uncapped England U20 (note: matches during the recent tour of Georgia were friendlies and therefore not capped)