Scotland and England have named their sides for Friday night’s U20 Six Nations contest at Myreside in Edinburgh (7.30pm KO).
England Head Coach Alan Dickens has made two changes to the side that scored at the death to beat France 29-24 in their championship opener, with Saracens’ Harvey Beaton starting at tighthead and London Irish’s Luke Green moving to the bench, while Leicester Tigers’ Freddie Steward starts at full back, the former Norwich School star comes in for the injured Josh Hodge, who was named as an apprentice in the senior squad ahead of last week’s game.
There are a couple of changes on the bench, too. Northampton Saints’ Ollie Sleightholme wears the 23 shirt with Steward’s promotion to the starting fifteen, while Gloucester’s’ Josh Gray comes in for his clubmate Jack Clement as a back row replacement.
Elsewhere the team is unchanged; Gabriel Hamer-Webb and Tom Roebuck start on the wings either side of Steward, with Max Ojomoh and Connor Doherty in the centres. Manu Vunipola is again at outside half while Sam Maunder retains the captaincy at scrum half.
Up front James Whitcombe and Theo Dan are alongside Beaton in the front row, with George Hammond and Ben Donnell in the second row. JJ Tonks, Rus Tuima, and last week’s match-winning hero Richard Capstick make up the back row.
Alongside Green, Gray, and Sleightholme on the bench are Ben Atkins, Emmanuel Iyogun, and Hugh Tizard covering the forwards, with Jack van Poortvliet and George Barton again covering the inside backs.
Speaking to www.englandrugby.com having announced his side, Alan Dickens said:
“The players have recovered well after a physical game in France on Saturday, analysed the match, and we’ve had a good week’s preparation ahead of Friday’s fixture. We’ve implemented a couple of new things ahead of the game and we know it is going to be another huge challenge that we have to take very seriously.”
“The last time we played in Scotland they came out winners so we’ll be well prepared for what awaits us on Friday. It will no doubt be another challenging environment, but the players have shown they can handle that and I’ve been impressed by how quickly they have gelled as a group.”
“There are always areas to work on and improve, but this is a new group, we had nine debutants at U20s level start last Saturday’s game so this team will only get better the more they play together and I’m expecting an improvement in Edinburgh on Friday. What impressed me on Saturday was our ability to adapt tactically and we know that will again be important against Scotland.”
Scotland meanwhile have also made two changes to their side that lost to Ireland last time as they aim for a repeat of their 24-17 victory over England two years ago, a game that captain and number 8 Rory Darge was involved in.
For this one Head Coach Sean Lineen, a Grand Slam winner in 1990, brings in Heriot’s Harry Paterson, he replaces the injured Jack Blain, while Glasgow Hawks’ Max Priestly is promoted to the bench in place of Rufus McLean, who has a concussion.
Thomas Lambert is the other change to the starting side, he comes in for Alex Maxwell. The Sydney University man is one of a number of players plying their trade outside of Scotland, he will be alongside another in the form of Sale Sharks’ Ewan Ashman, with Durham University’s Jack Hill again on the blindside flank and Bristol Bears’ Nathan Chamberlain at outside half.
Speaking to www.scottishrugby.org Lineen said of his side:
“We’ve got some good attackers in this team and they’re pretty skilful, but we’ve got to look after the ball a bit better than we did last weekend. England will be all about power, a lot of their individuals play Premiership rugby, they’re all very good players.”
“We’ve got to make sure we strike the right balance in attack and defence, we’ve come away having played pretty well in Ireland and we’ll look to take those positives into Friday night.”
“We want to make it as tough as possible, you can’t stand off them and we’ve got to make it very difficult, but first and foremost we need every man wearing that thistle to front up to the challenge they’ll face. We’re expecting a big crowd at Myreside and we’ll make sure we use them as our sixteenth man and we’re ready to give it our best shot.”
Teams: Scotland U20 v England U20 – Friday, 7.30pm, Myreside
15 Ollie Smith (Ayrshire Bulls), 14 Harry Paterson (Heriot’s), 13 Matthew Currie (Watsonians), 12 Robbie McCallum (Boroughmuir), 11 Jacob Henry (Southern Knights), 10 Nathan Chamberlain (Bristol Bears), 9 Roan Frostwick (Watsonians), 1 Thomas Lambert (Sydney Uni), 2 Ewan Ashman (Sale Sharks), 3 Mak Wilson (Southern Knights), 4 Kieran Watt (Watsonians), 5 Cameron Henderson (Stirling County), 6 Jack Hill (Durham Uni), 7 Connor Boyle (Watsonians), 8 Rory Darge (Southern Knights, captain).
Replacements: 16 Rory Jackson (Watsonians), 17 George Breese (Stirling County), 18 Alex Maxwell (Stourbridge), 19 Jamie Campbell (Biggar), 20 Gregor Brown (Boroughmuir), 21 Kyle McGhie (Boroughmuir), 22 Cameron Scott (Boroughmuir), 23 Max Preistly (Glasgow Hawks).
15 Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers), 14 Gabriel Hamer-Webb (Bath Rugby), 13 Connor Doherty (Sale Sharks), 12 Max Ojomoh (Bath Rugby), 11 Tom Roebuck (Sale Sharks), 10 Manu Vunipola (Saracens), 9 Sam Maunder (Exeter Chiefs, captain), 1 James Whitcombe (Leicester Tigers), 2 Theo Dan (Saracens), 3 Harvey Beaton (Saracens), 4 George Hammond (Harlequins), 5 Ben Donnell (London Irish), 6 Richard Capstick (Exeter Chiefs), 7 JJ Tonks (Northampton Saints), 8 Rus Tuima (Exeter Chiefs).
Replacements: 16 Ben Atkins (London Irish), 17 Emmanuel Iyogun (Northampton Saints), 18 Luke Green (London Irish), 19 Hugh Tizard (Harlequins), 20 Josh Gray (Gloucester Rugby), 21 Jack Van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers), 22 George Barton (Gloucester Rugby), 23 Ollie Sleightholme (Northampton Saints).