Mallinder captains England U20

Date published: June 6 2016

Harry Mallinder will captain England against Italy in their first game of the World Rugby U20 Championship at the Manchester City Academy Stadium.

With Jack Walker on the bench, Mallinder will lead the side with Jack Singleton, who scored four tries against Italy in the Six Nations, starting at hooker.

Four players in the matchday 23 make their debuts at this level with Darren Atkins, Mallinder, Theo Brophy-Clews and Billy Walker in the starting line-up.

Johnny Williams, who missed the Six Nations due to commitments with London Irish, and Harry Randall, who steps up from the U18s, could also win their first caps. 

The squad assembled in Manchester on Friday and after several intensive training sessions head coach Martin Haag is pleased with the progress that the squad has made ahead of their home tournament.

"Training has been fantastic," said Haag. "The boys have really bought into what we are trying to achieve on the field but I’m also really pleased with how they are gelling as a squad off the field.  

"When you come together with players and staff from all different rugby backgrounds it can sometimes be hard to quickly gel but we have a real sense of togetherness and an incredible team spirit.

"I’m delighted with how the first couple of days have gone but the real test is how we perform in games and the squad can’t wait to get started."

England: 15 Darren Atkins, 14 Sam Aspland-Robinson, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Harry Mallinder (c), 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Theo Brophy-Clews, 9 Max Green, 8 Callum Chick, 7 Jack Willis, 6 George Nott, 5 Huw Taylor, 4 Andrew Kitchener, 3 Billy Walker, 2 Jack Singleton, 1 Tom West
Replacements: 16 Jack Walker, 17 Lewis Boyce, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Zach Mercer, 20 Josh Bainbridge, 21 Harry Randall, 22 Johnny Williams, 23 Max Malins

Date: Tuesday, June 7
Venue: Manchester City Academy Stadium, Manchester
Kick-off: 19:45 BST (18:45 GMT)
Referee: Juan Sylvestre (Argentina)
Assistant Referees: Craig Evans (Wales), John Meredith (England)
TMO: John Mason (Wales)