Preview: England U20s vs France U20s

Preview: England U20s vs France U20s

England face arguably their toughest challenge yet in their quest for the Grand Slam, as they welcome France to the Recreation Ground on Friday night.

Bonus point victories in each of their opening three matches against Scotland, Italy and Wales have taken England to the top of the Championship table, one point ahead of holders Ireland, who are also chasing the Grand Slam.

France suffered a similar fate to last season in a last-gasp defeat to Ireland in Round 2, going down 33-31 after Sam Prendergast’s penalty three minutes from time.

A narrow victory over Italy in Round 1 and a comfortable win over Scotland in Round 3, sees France in the hunt on 11 points, four behind England and three behind Ireland.

France claimed a 26-22 win over England a year ago thanks to the boot of Max Auriac, and they will be hoping to leave Bath with victory this year to keep alive their title aspirations.

England team news 

England head coach Alan Dickens has made two changes to the England team that defeated Wales 37-21 in Round 3, with Lewis Chessum captaining the side.

Chessum is joined by Leicester Tigers teammate Robert Carmichael, who makes his first start.

The back row is unchanged, with Player of the Match against Wales Tristan Woodman remaining at openside flanker, where he joins Finn Carnduff and Greg Fisilau.

In the backs, there is also one change, Joe Jenkins comes into the centres to make his debut, alongside Rekeiti Ma'asi-White, who scored against Wales.

There is also a potential debut for Harry Browne who is named among the replacements.

France team news 

France have made six changes to the side that beat Scotland in Round 3, as Émilien Gailleton returns to lead the side.

Gailleton has missed the opening three rounds due to his involvement with Pau in the Top 14, where he is now the top scorer, overtaking France winger Ethan Dumortier.

He is joined by fellow Top 14 stars Louis Bielle-Biarrey and Nicolas Depoortere (both Bordeaux-Begles), scrum-half Baptiste Jauneau (Clermont Auvergne) and Posolo Tuilagi, son of Henry, who has impressed with Perpignan.

England U20 team to face France: 15 Sam Harris, 14 Tobias Elliott, 13 Joe Jenkins, 12 Rekeiti Ma'asi-White, 11 Josh Hathaway, 10. Monty Bradbury, 9 Charlie Bracken, 1 Archie McArthur, 2 Finn Theobald-Thomas, 3 Tim Hoyt, 4 Robert Carmichael, 5 Lewis Chessum, 6 Finn Carndruff, 7 Tristan Woodman, 8 Greg Fisilau

Replacements: 16 Calum Scott, 17 Asher Opoko-Fordjour, 18 Afolabi Fasogbon, 19 Harry Browne, 20 Joshua Manz, 21 Nye Thomas, 22 Benjamin Waghorn, 23 Cassius Cleaves

France U20 team to face England: 15 Mathis Ferte, 14 Louis Bielle-Biarrey, 13 Nicolas Depoortere, 12 Emilien Gailleton, 11 Leo Drouet, 10 Hugo Reus, 9 Baptiste Jauneau, 1 Louis Penverne, 2 Pierre Jouvin, 3 Zaccharie Affane, 4 Lenni Nouchi, 5 Posolo Tuilagi, 6 Oscar Jegou, 7 Esteban Capilla, 8 Marko Gazzotti. 

Replacements: 16 Thomas Lacombre, 17 Luca Tabarot, 18 Lino Julien, 19 Cyriac Guilly, 20 Brent Liufau, 21 Mathis Castro Ferreira, 22 Leo Carbonneau, 23 Paul Costes

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