Lewis Ludlam and Will Owen in England team to face Japan at World Rugby Under-20 Championships

Lewis Ludlam

Lewis Ludlam - Credit: Archant

Ipswich will be represented on a world stage this month when the World Rugby Under-20 Championships begin in Italy.

Will Owen. Tiger Images

Will Owen. Tiger Images - Credit: Archant

Lewis Ludlam and Will Owen have both been selected in defending champions’ England’s first XV for the opening game against Japan, in Calvisano, tomorrow. Ludlam will play at six and Owen at seven

Former Framlingham College pupil Owen is a member of the Leicester Tigers’ academy while Ludlam has just penned a new one-year deal at Northampton Saints, having recovered from a leg and ankle fracture.

Ludlam went to St Joseph’s College and has been playing Championship rugby with Coventry this season, on dual registration terms.

“I am fully recovered now, I have played two games, and now it’s all about getting my lungs back to full strength,” said Ludlam.

“I was unable to go back to Coventry once I was fit again, as the season had ended, but I have played an England training game and at the Bury Sevens to get some game time.

“I will be going back to Northampton and doing my gym work until we set off on Thursday and I know the Saints’ coaches will be out there watching in Italy, so it is up to me to play the best I can.”

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Ludlam’s injury came at a cruel time, meaning he missed England’s successful Under-20s Six Nations win.

“There was always a chance that I could have missed out on it (World Under-20s selection) particularly with England on a winning streak after the Six-Nations,” added Ludlam, whose team also face Wales and France in the group stages.

The top teams from the three pools progress to the finals, plus the best second-placed team.

“You never know how it’s going to go, as the teams change each year in age-group rugby,” explained Ludlam.

“New Zealand are always strong, as are South Africa, but I think it will be a case of who turns up and performs.

“I think we have got a good group – there is one containing New Zealand, Argentina and Scotland – but you have to play the better sides later on in the tournament anyway if you are going to win it.”

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