Newcastle Falcons’ trio of representatives at the World Rugby U20s world championships are in line for their first involvements of this year’s competition on Tuesday, with all three named in the match-day 23-man squads for thier respective countries.
Taking place in Argentina from June 4 to June 22nd, the Falcons have representation with both England and Scotland, with recently signed Josh Basham and academy talent Josh Hodge in the red rose ranks and rising academy graduate Tom Marshall involved in with the Scots.
Marshall, who qualifies for Scotland through his mother, will earn his first cap by starting at number eight in Scotland’s opening match against South Africa after forcing his way into a side showing only three changes to the side that faced England U20 in the final match of the U20 Six Nations earlier this year.
Scoring a brace of tries in a warm up fixture against Old Glory DC, Marshall is a product of the Falcons’ AASE scheme at Gosforth Academy that reached two successive national AASE finals and made his first appearance for Falcons A whilst still at school in the 17/18 A League seaso.
Added into the senior academy at the start of 2018/19, he earned his first start for the Falcons on the openside flank against Exeter in the Premiership Rugby Cup.
For England’s opening encounter, Basham and Hodge have been included among the replacements for England’s first fixture against reigning U20s Six Nations champions Ireland and will be eager to add to their respective tallies of 11 and six U20s caps for England during the tournament.
Promoted to the Falcons’ senior academy squad in the summer of 2018, Hodge is a full-back from South Cumbria who represented Sedbergh School and has played for England Under-18s as well as the Falcons’ junior academy prior to his promotion. A talented decathlete in addition to his rugby prowess, Hodge made seven appearances for the Falcons in the 2018/19 Premiership Rugby Shield campaign.
Signed towards the end of the 2018-19 season, Basham is combining his professional contract with an economics degree at Durham University. A pupil at Wellington College, whom he helped win three Daily Mail Trophy finals, he also captained England at Under-18s level.
Playing for England Under-20s in the 2018 Junior World Championship, Basham missed the 2019 Under-20s Six Nations due to ankle surgery.
Over the course of the poolstages, England will take on Ireland, Italy and Australia, while Scotland will face South Africa, New Zealand and Georgia.