Flanker Will Evans has been named in the England squad for the World Rugby U20 Championship in Georgia from 31 May to 18 June after recovering from injury.
Since playing a prominent role in England’s title-winning campaign in Manchester last June, Evans has gained a wealth of experience in Leicester Tigers' first team, making 18 appearances in all competitions.
However, his involvement this season was cut short when he rolled his ankle in an Anglo-Welsh Cup win over local rivals Northampton Saints at the end of January.
The 20-year-old made his return to action for the Tigers in a Premiership A-League game against Worcester a fortnight ago and he now gets the opportunity to become a double world champion alongside fellow returnees, Sam Aspland-Robinson, Theo Brophy Clews, Zach Mercer, Harry Randall and Max Wright.
Evans started four matches in England’s 2016 triumph and his experience and effectiveness at the breakdown will help compensate for the loss of the Curry twins, Ben and Tom, who have both been selected for the senior tour to Argentina.
Norwich-born Evans and Saracens utility back Ali Crossdale are the only players in a squad of 28 that did not feature for England in their recent U20 Six Nations Grand Slam-winning campaign. Crossdale, a fly-half or full-back, has yet to play for England at U20 level.
Ben Earl captained England in their wins over France and Wales before missing the rest of the Six Nations through injury. The Saracens number eight is named alongside fellow back-row Zach Mercer, who led the squad to victory in his absence.
MAKING THEIR MARK
“The Six Nations showed that we have a large pool of young talent and that competition for places is high. We’re looking forward to seeing which players now take the opportunity to make their mark in the World Championship this summer as this group continues to develop.,” said RFU head of international player development, Dean Ryan.
Louis Deacon, Ian Vass and Tom Williams continue as England’s coaching team, having joined the management as part of a new agreement with Premiership Rugby in which club coaches lead and develop the U20s while gaining experience in an international environment.
Playing all of their Pool A matches in the Avchala Stadium in Tbilisi, the defending champions will open their campaign against Samoa on Wednesday 31 May. Samoa have been promoted to the U20 Championship after winning the World Rugby U20 Trophy in Zimbabwe last year.
England will face familiar faces in their second fixture when they come up against Wales on 4 June. The two sides recently met in the Six Nations, with England coming out on top as 37-21 winners.
Australia, who were in England’s pool last year, are the opposition for their final pool encounter on 8 June.
Forwards: Ralph Adams-Hale, Josh Bayliss, Jamie Blamire, Josh Caulfield, Justin Clegg, Max Davies, Ollie Dawe, Ben Earl, Will Evans, Ciaran Knight, Zach Mercer, Joe Mullis, Jack Nay, Alex Seville, Marcus Street, Henry Walker.
Backs: Sam Aspland-Robinson, Theo Brophy Clews, Will Butler, Ali Crossdale, Gabriel Ibitoye, Max Malins, Alex Mitchell, Dominic Morris, Tom Parton, Harry Randall, Jacob Umaga, Max Wright.