Scotland have named their side for the 2019 U20 Six Nations opener against Italy on Friday evening.
Kicking off at 7.30pm at Netherdale, Head Coach Carl Hogg has picked a strong side with seven debutants in the starting side a number of Exiles included.
Watsonians’ Connor Boyle will captain the side from openside and his flanking partner is Scottish Exile Kwagga Van Niekirk, who plays his rugby at the Lions in South Africa and makes his debut on Friday. Jack Mann starts at number 8 and the Edinburgh Accies man is another debutant.
Ewan Johnson is another Scottish Exile in the pack, he plies his trade at Racing 92 and linesip in the second row alongside Heriot’s Charlie Jupp.
Leicester Tigers’ Sam Grahamslaw is the third and final Exile in the pack, he starts at loosehead with Jed Fores’s Finaly Scott at hooker and Murphy Walker of Stirling County at tighthead.
In the backline Ross Thompson is the vice captain and starts at fly half. The Glasgow Hawks man is partnered at half back by Currie’s Roan Frostwick, who makes his debut.
The centre partnership is an all-Exiles all-debutant pairing, with Complutense Cisernos’ Robbie McCallum at 12 and Wasps’ Cameron Anderson at outside centre.
Meanwhile in the back three Ayr’s Ollie Smith makes his debut at full back, with Heriot’s Jack Blain also making his debut on the left wing, former Wellington College back Rory McMichael, also of Heriot’s, starts on the right.
On the bench there are two further Scottish Exiles, Sale Sharks’ Euan Ashman covering hooker and Bristol Bears’ Nathan Chamberlain covering outside half. Joining Ashman in covering the front row are Andrew Nimmo and Euan McLaren, while Cameron Henderson covers the second row and Ross Bundy the back row. Kyle McGhie looks after the scrum half berth, while Rufus McLean covers the outside back.
Speaking to Scottish Rugby ahead of the game, Carl Hogg said: “We’ve chosen a strong side which contains a good blend of pace and power, whilst there are number of players who will be looking to impress on their first appearance for Scotland U20.”
“The boys have trained really well in the run up to the match and I’ve been impressed with their mind-set and positivity throughout training camp. Italy are a tough, combative side and we’re well aware of the passion that they bring to the fold. The boys know how tough the game will be and we’ll have to match their intensity from the get-go on Friday night.”
Scotland U20 XV v Italy – Friday, 7.30pm, Netherdale
15 Ollie Smith (Ayr), 14 Rory McMichael (Heriot’s), 13 Cameron Anderson (Wasps), 12 Robbie McCallum (Complutense Cisneros), 11 Jack Blain (Heriot’s), 10 Ross Thompson (Glasgow Hawks, vc), 9 Roan Frostwick (Currie Chieftains), 1 Sam Grahamslaw (Leicester Tigers), 2 Finlay Scott (Jed-Forest), 3 Murphy Walker (Stirling County), 4 Ewan Johnson (Racing 92), 5 Charlie Jupp (Heriot’s), 6 Kwagga Van Niekirk (Lions), 7 Connor Boyle (Watsonians, captain), 8 Jack Mann (Edinburgh Accies).
Replacements: 16 Euan Ashman (Sale Sharks), 17 Andrew Nimmo (Glasgow Hawks), 18 Euan McLaren (Ayr), 19 Cameron Henderson (Stirling County), 20 Ross Bundy (Stirling County), 21 Kyle McGhie (Musselburgh), 22 Nathan Chamberlain (Bristol Bears), 23 Rufus McLean (Watsonians).