Match Preview


Posolo Tuilagi
England U20s head to Pau to take on a star-studded France team as they look to clinch the U20 Six Nations title.

A 32-32 draw with Ireland in Round 4 put England one point clear at the top of the table heading into the final round, meaning their destiny is in their own hands.

However, they face a French side which is packed with senior experience, recalling a host of players who helped the team to World Rugby U20s glory last summer in South Africa.

With Ireland just a point behind England, and hosting winless Scotland, Mark Mapletoft’s side may need a bonus-point win in Pau to win the Championship for the first time since 2021.

France, meanwhile, are technically still in title contention, but would need Scotland to spring a surprise in Cork, while also making up five points on England.


UK viewers can watch the match on BBC iPlayer, the BBC Sport website and the Red Button, while the game will be shown on La chaine L’Equipe in France.


With no Top 14 or Pro D2 action this weekend, France have been able to call on almost all their top players, making 12 changes from the side that beat Wales comprehensively last time out.

Of the starting XV, 13 have senior professional experience, most notably, Posolo Tuilagi who comes into the side having featured three times in the Guinness Men’s Six Nations this year.

Elsewhere, Hugo Reus and Marko Gazzotti, two of the stars at the World Cup last year, make their first appearances of the campaign at fly-half and No.8 respectively, while Pau flyer Théo Attisogbé comes onto the wing.

England have made four changes to the side that drew with Ireland, as Ioan Jones and George Makepeace-Cubitt come into the backline at full-back and fly-half.

That means a switch to the wing for Ben Redshaw, while up front, James Isaacs earns a start at hooker and Joe Bailey gets the nod in the second row.


France scrum-half and captain Léo Carbonneau: “When you are French, there is always a certain rivalry against England, especially when you have been brought up in rugby and the Six Nations since you were little. It’s up to us produce a big game, especially at the Stade du Hameau which will be sold out.”

England head coach Mark Mapletoft: “The team are incredibly excited for Friday night. These are the types of fixtures we all want to be part of in rugby and we’ll savour the opportunity we now have.

“I’ve been impressed with the resilient mindset of our team after last week’s result, it’s a strong reminder to myself, Andy and the coaches what a special group we’re lucky to possess this year. It was a fantastic crowd last week, and I want to thank all of those who have come out to support us at the Rec.

“The team have worked extremely hard and are intent on leaving their mark on this fixture, and this tournament overall, against what will be one of our biggest challenges yet in Pau.”TEAMS

France U20s: 15 Mathis Ferté, 14 Théo Attisogbé, 13 Léon Darricarrère, 12 Kalvin Gourgues, 11 Nathan Bollengier, 10 Hugo Reus, 9 Léo Carbonneau (c), 1 Lino Julien, 2 Barnabé Massa, 3 Zaccharie Affane, 4 Hugo Descube, 5 Posolo Tuilagi, 6 Mathis Castro-Ferreira, 7 Joé Quere-Karaba, 8 Marko Gazzotti

Replacements: 16 Robin Couly, 17 Zinedine Aouad, 18 Thomas Duchêne, 19 Simon Huchet, 20 Sialevailea Tolofua, 21 Geoffrey Malaterre, 22 Thomas Souverbie, 23 Maxence Biasotto

England U20s: 15 Ioan Jones, 14 Toby Cousins, 13 Ben Waghorn, 12 Sean Kerr, 11 Ben Redshaw, 10 George Makepeace-Cubitt, 9 Archie McParland, 1 Asher Opoku-Fordjour, 2 James Isaacs, 3 Billy Sela, 4 Joe Bailey, 5 Junior Kpoku, 6 Finn Carnduff (c), 7 Henry Pollock, 8 Nathan Michelow

Replacements: 16 Jacob Oliver, 17 Scott Kirk, 18 James Halliwell, 19 Olamide Sodeke, 20 Kane James, 21 Ben Douglas, 22 Josh Bellamy, 23 Oli Spencer