Scotland have made four changes to the side that lost to Ireland as they named their side to face France on Friday night in the U20 Six Nations.
The Scots are searching for their first win of the campaign, having lost to Italy on the opening weekend in addition to the Ireland defeat. They now face reigning Six Nations and World Champions France at 8pm (GMT) on Friday at the Stade du Hameau, Pau, though France are coming in off the back of defeat to England last time out.
Three of the changes to the side are in the backline, including Stirling County’s Grant Hughes coming in for his debut at inside centre in place of the injured Cameron Anderson.
Hughes is part of an all new centre partnership, with Ayr’s Ollie Smith on his outside shoulder. London Scottish’s Matt Davidson is the other player to come into the side, the Scottish Exile starts at full back with Heriot’s pair Jack Blain and Rory McMichael, once of Wellington College, on the wings.
The halfbacks remain unchanged, with Currie’s Roan Frostwick at scrum half and Glasgow Hawks’ Ross Thompson retaining the vice captaincy at fly half.
Up front another Stirling County man comes in for his first start, Ross Bundy coming in for the Lions’ Kwagga van Niekirk at number 8. He starts in the back for alongside Heriot’s Charlie Jupp and Watsonians Connor Boyle, who captains the side from the openside flank.
In the second row Racing 92’s Ewan Johnson and Stirling County’s Cameron Henderson link up once again, while in the front row Stirlings Murphy Walker and Ayr’s Euan McLaren are the props, while Sale Sharks’ Ewan Ashman is again at hooker.
The bench is an Exiles heavy one, with Cardiff Met University’s Will Hurd covering tighthead and Sale Sharks’s former Kirkham Grammar School star, Teddy Leatherbarrow, covering the back row. Meanwhile Bristol Bears’ Nathan Chamberlain again covers outside half, while Complutense Cisneros’ Robbie McCallum covers the outside backs.
The Scottish based players on the bench are the Glasgow Hawks pair Angus Fraser and Andrew Nimmo, covering hooker and loosehead, Edinburgh Accies’ Jack Mann covering the second row, and Watsonians’ Murray Scott covering scrum half.
Speaking to Scottish Rugby ahead of the game, Scotland U20 Head Coach Carl Hogg said:
“The first two fixtures in the tournament have been disappointing. We know that we haven’t hit the heights that we can achieve as a group.”
“Playing in France is always special and there should be a partisan atmosphere under the floodlights. We’ve just got to go out there and be bold in the way we play. We’ve got to be brave. We’ve got to start from the first whistle and we’ve got to have the mentality to win the game.”
“We know that if we can lift the speed of the game and build the phases then we can really stress a strong French side. We’re really looking forward to the challenge.”
Scotland U20 XV v France – Friday, 8pm GMT, Stade du Hameau, Pau:
15 Matt Davidson (London Scottish), 14 Rory McMichael (Heriot’s), 13 Ollie Smith (Ayr), 12 Grant Hughes (Stirling County), 11 Jack Blain (Heriot’s), 10 Ross Thompson (Glasgow Hawks, vc), 9 Roan Frostwick (Currie Chieftains), 1 Murphy Walker (Stirling County), 2 Ewan Ashman (Sale Sharks), 3 Euan McLaren (Ayr), 4 Ewan Johnson (Racing 92), 5 Cameron Henderson (Stirling County), 6 Charlie Jupp (Heriot’s), 7 Connor Boyle (Watsonians, captain), 8 Ross Bundy (Stirling County).
Replacements: 16 Angus Fraser (Glasgow Hawks), 17 Andrew Nimmo (Glasgow Hawks), 18 Will Hurd (Cardiff Metropolitan University), 19 Jack Mann (Edinburgh Accies), 20 Teddy Leatherbarrow (Sale Sharks), 21 Murray Scott (Watsonians), 22 Nathan Chamberlain (Bristol Bears), 23 Robbie McCallum (Complutense Cisneros).
Scotland U20 6 Nations Fixtures:
Round 1: Scotland 22-32 Italy
Round 2: Ireland 5-24 Scotland
Round 3: France – Friday 22nd Feb, Stade du Hameau, Pau, 8pm
Round 4: Wales – Friday 8th Mar, Meggetland, Edinburgh, 7.30pm
Round 5: England – Friday 15th Mar, Franklin’s Gardens, Northampton, 7.45pm