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Alan Dickens wants England to create “special memories” in Six Nations U20 finale
We preview the final round of the Six Nations U20 2021 as England go in search of a Grand Slam.
England U20 coach Alan Dickens has urged his players to “enjoy the moment” as they chase a Six Nations U20 Grand Slam against Italy.
Cardiff Arms Park will play host to the final round of the Six Nations U20 2021 on Tuesday, with England leading the standings having won each of their four matches.
Dickens’ side take on Italy in the opening match of the round, in what will be the final time the team line up together at U20 level.
4⃣ rounds down, 1⃣ to go! 🏆— Six Nations Under-20s (@SixNationsU20) July 12, 2021
Congratulations to all our teams for a great 2021 #SixNationsU20s Championship. The future is bright! 🙌 pic.twitter.com/0Vm0DDr4N7
And, the coach has made just one change to his starting XV as fly-half Tommy Matthews comes in to make his first start of the campaign.
Italy will begin the day in fourth, having won one of their four matches, and victory would ensure that they cannot be overtaken by Wales in the standings.
“We know the Italians are a tough outfit and I think they have been excellent so far in this competition,” Dickens said.
“I’m sure they’ll be looking to take their first-half performance from their game against Ireland and build on that going into our game and we need to be prepared for that.
“This will be the last time this group of players takes to the pitch together and I want them to go out, put in a good performance, enjoy the moment and take away some special memories from our time here in Cardiff.”
Ireland take on France
England need only a bonus point against Italy to secure a ninth Championship at this level, with second-placed Ireland — who they beat in round three — five points behind them.
France are a point further back in third, and end their Six Nations U20 campaign with a match against the Irish at 16:45 (BST) in Cardiff.
Ireland coach Richie Murphy has made seven personnel changes for the match, while Philippe Boher has refreshed his France side with nine at the end of a condensed campaign.
“It has been a long Championship but the group has been able to refocus and reset after last week’s win over Italy and we’re all really looking forward to the last game of the campaign,” Murphy said.
“It has taken a huge effort from everyone involved but we have grown as a squad over the last five weeks and we’re excited to see how we can perform against France.”
Scotland search for first win
The final match of the Six Nations U20 2021 will kick off at 20:00 (BST) as Scotland face hosts Wales, still looking for their first win of the tournament.
Scotland lost 45-21 to France in round four, and are yet to record a point in the Championship so far, having lost each of their four matches while conceding 157 points.
Wales have not won since their opening 25-8 defeat of Italy on 19 June, and slipped to a 45-3 reverse against table-topping England last time out.
Home coach Ioan Cunningham has made seven changes to his side for the match against Scotland, and he has asked for one last big effort from his players.
“We obviously want to finish on a high and that is a focus for us – we started with a win so it would be nice to finish with a win with this group,” he said.
“We’ve freshened up the playing group as some of the boys have played a lot of rugby and we also have a couple of players carrying knocks. Both Dan John and Theo Bevacqua have had concussion symptoms so have been replaced by Carrick McDonough and Cameron Jones respectively.”