England Under 20 will kick off the defence of their Six Nations trophy against Scotland on Friday, February 1 at Plymouth Albion’s Brickfields Stadium, a game Head Coach Rob Hunter has called a “great opportunity”.
The match will be shown live on Sky Sports and Sky Sports HD, kick off 5.45pm, and will be the first of three Under 20 matches to be hosted around the country.
England won both the 2011 and 2012 tournaments and will be aiming for an unprecedented third title, kicking off with a repeat of last year’s opening fixture. Scotland went down 59-3 against a strong England side last season but Hunter says that his squad won’t be thinking back to 12 months ago.
“It’s a new season and a new group of players,” he said. “Scotland squads are always well organised coming into the championship and we’ll treat them with the respect they deserve. The competition gets tougher every year. It’s great to be able to have the game in Plymouth, a fair chunk of our squad come from the south west so it’s fantastic for those guys, rugby supporters are passionate down there and it’s a great opportunity for us to play in front them”
With a dual registration agreement in place between Exeter Chiefs and Plymouth Albion for the 2012/13 season, fly half Henry Slade, prop Luke Cowan-Dickie and wing Jack Arnott are current regulars in the Albion first team and are excited to play at their adopted home.
Slade said: “It’s great for us to have such a prestigious game down here in Plymouth, it will make us feel right at home playing in front of such a receptive crowd. It will be so much easier for our friends and family to be here to support us and there could be five players from Devon if the guys currently on loan at Pirates [Jack Nowell and Sam Hill] are also selected.”
Cowan-Dickie added: “It’s awesome and it’s a massive honour to play at a local club. Living in the South West usually means a great deal of travel when we are involved in Internationals so much more likely to have family and friends here to watch which is great as it’s always special playing for the Under 20s.”
Plymouth’s Acting CEO Debbie Fisher said: “To be successful in our bid to host one of next year’s U20’s Internationals is fantastic news for Plymouth Albion and the local community. The game will be a huge boost for professional rugby in the region and will have the added attraction of several local players appearing for their country in their own county.”
Dr Graham Stirling, Chairman of Albion agreed, and added: "We are delighted for all rugby followers in our region to have successfully bid for this prestigious England U20's international game against Scotland. It makes it all the more interesting having Slade, Cowan-Dickie and Arnott, our Exeter Chiefs dual registered players in the squad plus Hill and Nowell who are dual registered with the Cornish Pirates. It has all the makings of a fantastic evening at the start of the Six Nations Championship"
Ticket prices for Ground entry to the match will be competitive at £12 for Adult entry with concessions for Seniors, Students and Under 18’s at £9. Children under 12 will have free entry to the Ground. A separate pricing structure will be published for entry to the seated Grandstand and Covered Redrow stand.