England U20 Men have confirmed a fixture against one of the top sides from the RFU Championship, as they are set to take on Coventry Rugby later this year. The England age group talents will make their way to the Butts Park Arena in May, which will coincide with the final weekend of the Championship season.
Mark Mapletoft’s side head to the West Midlands, with the match booked in for Saturday 25th of May. Coventry were originally set to play reigning Championship winners Jersey Reds that day, yet have the vacancy due to the Reds’ financial collapse back in September. The ‘BPA’ is one of the top venues across the English second division, with a capacity of 5,200 spectators ready to watch the English young guns take to the pitch.
Coventry, who celebrate their 150-year anniversary in 2024, boast capped former England pathway players Adam Nicol, Jack Bartlett, James Tyas, Matt Kvesic, Obinna Nkwocha, Rhys Anstey, Tobi Wilson and Toby Trinder in their ranks this term.
England U20 Men’s head coach Mark Mapletoft voiced his enthusiasm in the proposed meeting with Coventry this May.
“The team and I are really excited to have this fixture confirmed, I believe it’s important to keep the connections strong at all levels of the game in this country and this fixture further reinforces that,” he commented.
“Above all else, Coventry is a team on the up and that is strongly reflected in their league form this season. Like in recent weeks against Bath United and Oxford University, we wanted to test our squad against the strongest opposition possible before we get into another important block in the season.
“Alex (Rae) and his staff have done a fantastic job this year, and we look forward to meeting this spring for what promises to be a really exciting game.”
Coventry are flying high under head coach and former England U20 Men’s player Alex Rae, with the club currently situated third in the Championship. They will provide a stern test for the current U20 Men’s team ahead of Mapletoft’s second outing at the U20 Championships.
Coventry Rugby Chief Executive Officer Nick Johnston said: “We’re really grateful to England for bringing the U20s to our city to help us celebrate our 150th anniversary.
“Bringing international rugby to Coventry creates a really big occasion and it will be great for our local community to see future stars in action.
“It is also a great example of our club’s ability to bring a big, family-focused event that generates income for the city.”
Whilst preparation currently gears towards the upcoming 2024 Under-20 Men’s Six Nations Championship, Mark Mapletoft’s men have another date to anticipate before their summer tour to South Africa for the World Rugby U20 Championships.
Butts Park Arena previously hosted England U20 Men’s encounter with the Junior Springboks in preparation for the 2019 World Rugby U20 Championships, where England won 35-8, but it will be the first time the club and country face off against each other.
Tries from Ben Redshaw, Ollie Spencer, Max Blinkhorn and Jacob Oliver, and braces from Ben Waghorn and Toby Cousins, helped the U20 Men attained a convincing 44-5 win over Oxford University in their recent match, before Friday’s meeting with Italy to open up their Six Nations campaign at the Stadio Comunale di Monigo (19:15 GMT kick-off, live on BBC iPlayer).
For now, England U20s are focussing on what’s immediately in front of them, with the 2024 U20 Men’s Six Nations Championship commencing this weekend.
England U20 Men’s 2024 U20 Six Nations fixtures
2 February – Italy v England – 19:15 – Stadio Monigo, Treviso
9 February – England v Wales – 19:15 – The Recreation Ground.
23 February – Scotland v England – 19:15 – Hive Stadium, Edinburgh
8 March – England v Ireland – 19:15 – The Recreation Ground.
15 March – France v England – 20:00 – Stade du Hameau, Pau