Fraser Dingwall and Alex Coles picked for England under-20s to face Ireland in Six Nations
Fraser Dingwall has been named as the captain of England under-20s for the start of their Six Nations campaign against Ireland this Friday (February 1).
And there is also a first cap for Alex Coles in the pack.
Former Cambridge mini and youth player Dingwall, who is now at Northampton Saints, has been named at outside centre for the game at the Irish Independent Park, and will captain a side that features nine returnees, including seven from the final of the 2018 World Rugby Under-20 Championship.
Among the newcomers is former The Perse School student Coles, who was also at Cambridge. He will line up in the second row.
Coles had impressed on the school stage at the Perse to be picked up by Northampton Saints, and in his first year in professional rugby after completing his studies has already made a breakthrough into the Saints first team, scoring his first try in the European Challenge Cup win over Timisoara Saracens.
Dingwall and Coles are joined by club-mate Ollie Sleightholme in the England starting line-up, and Saints' academy manager Simon Sinclair told the Northampton Saints website: “Fraser, Ollie and Alex all starting for England is another great achievement for everyone involved in our academy who are supporting these lads day in, day out.
"For Ollie and Alex, this is another really important step in their development. We have really high hopes for them at Saints and it's fantastic they each have a couple of familiar Northampton faces playing alongside them.
“I'm delighted for Fraser who has worked as hard as anyone else in the squad this season and is reaping the rewards; we've known for a long time he's a special talent, and I know he has what it takes to lead his country with distinction.
“Everyone at the club will be supporting these three on Friday evening and for the rest of the Championship.”
England under-20s head coach Steve Bates said: “The message to the squad this week has been that this is a great opportunity for them to show how good they are at the start of another Six Nations campaign and they should play with confidence.
“This is a very exciting, talented group of players and they should not forget to play like it. We have to go out there on Friday and really express ourselves on the pitch but we know we have to respect the opposition who will be positive about their chances in this competition as well.
“This is a team full of experience, who are hugely talented and it is a shame we can only pick 15 as we’ve left out some very good players.
“The replacements will all be expected to make an impact on Friday, while the wider squad who will not be in Ireland, will also be required at various points in the competition and we need everyone to stay involved as they will play further down the line."