Match Report: Scotland U20 17-30 England U20

Match Report: Scotland U20 17-30 England U20

An enthralling Under-20 Six Nations encounter in Edinburgh saw Scotland U20 come up short, as England U20 emerged on the right side of a 17-30 scoreline at a lively Hive Stadium.

It was a crisp evening as Kenny Murray’s side welcomed their English counterparts for the latest instalment of the 2024 Under-20 Six Nations. Isaac Coates got the contest started as the rain began to descend.

A misplaced first Scottish lineout gifted England territory in the opening two minutes. Fergus Watson prevented what seemed a probable try for Nathan Michelow, however a penalty advantage had already been awarded for a by referee Ben Breakspear, allowing the away side to come back and kick for the opening score. Sean Kerr duly obliged to put England 0-3 ahead.

England grabbed the opening try on 14 minutes. A knock on from Isaac Coates in his own half and a following offside gave the visitors a lineout metres from the Scotland try-line. From it England mauled and hooker Craig Wright was able to burrow over. Kerr made it two kicks from two. 0-10.

A handling error from the England attack gave Amena Caqusau the chance to break away. Galloping up the line he looked to offload to Geordie Gwynn – who was taken out by England captain Finn Carnduff. After the briefest of TMO checks, England escaped with only a penalty against their name for a no-arms tackle.

The right boot of Kerr was again called into action after an intentional knock-on by Euan McVie. His 35-yard kick went over. 0-13. Scotland captain Liam McConnell was forced off on 24 minutes, replaced by Ryan Burke.

Scotland were nearly able to find a way through from an England exit as Fergus Watson darted through the tightest of gaps and fought off multiple challenges. He was only thwarted by an impressive tap tackle by Henry Pollock.

Scotland’s penalty count began to mount. Referee Breakspear’s patience ran out on Amena Caqusau, who saw yellow and sentenced to ten minutes in the bin. With a man fewer, England worked the ball wide from right to left, where a smart offload from substitute Makepeace-Cubitt allowed Sean Kerr to go over. He was unable to add the conversion this time, striking the left upright. 0-18.

Scotland were up against it; Kerr Yule provided a moment of quality to give Scotland some territory. His intelligent and well-executed jackal on his own 22 gave Scotland a penalty on halfway.

The Scots thought they had found a way over the line when Murdoch Lock intercepted a pass on halfway following an England scrum. After sprinting 60 yards with ball-in-hand he was agonisingly dragged into touch inches from the try-line. Scotland were pushing but the pressure was released on England when they were awarded a scrum on their five-metre line. Referee Breakspear deciding that Kerr Yule jumped into what appeared to be a mid-air tackle.

Half Time: Scotland U20 0 – 18 England U20

The second period began with a series of strong carries from England, which were repelled by Scotland, Freddy Douglas’ fifth ruck turnover broke the momentum and allowed the home side to kick for a lineout on halfway.

Captain Finn Carnduff went over for England’s third try on 47 minutes. The second row powered between Geordie Gwynn and Murdoch Lock after several attacking waves had been repelled by Scotland. Kerr converted the kick. 0-25.

Freddy Douglas was still making a nuisance of himself at the breakdown, notching his sixth turnover in three games. From the resultant lineout England conceded another penalty. Hooker Jerry Blyth-Lafferty tapped and went, and after a couple of phases it was Euan McVie who was able to power over for Scotland’s first score. The boot of Isaac Coates made no mistake, his first kick going over to reduce the arrears. 7-25.

Just before the hour mark, England had the bonus point try. A penalty for not rolling away gave England a lineout five metres out. Openside flanker Nathan Michelow broke through a bundle of bodies to get the ball down for the visitors’ fourth try, albeit an unconverted one.

Scotland notched their second try of the game as Freddy Douglas both created and converted the score himself. First, he made it a hat-trick of jackal turnovers in the game which allowed Isaac Coates to find touch impressively. Then, from the resultant lineout, Douglas finished the maul to bring Scotland to double figures on the night. Coates narrowly missed the conversion from out wide on the Lothian stand touchline. 12-30.

Gwynn ran in for another five points with just under five minutes to go. Off the lineout, Scotland worked the ball quickly from left to right out of the maul. A fine pass from substitute Jack Hocking released Geordie into acres of space to cross in the corner. 17-30.

A much improved second half showing from the young Scots was unfortunately not enough, despite some impressive performances. Attentions will now turn to a trip to Italy in two weeks’ time.

Full time: Scotland U20 17-30 England U20

Player of the Match- Sean Kerr

Scotland: 15. Fergus Watson 14. Kerr Johnston 13. Geordie Gwynn (VC) 12. Kerr Yule 11. Amena Caqusau 10. Isaac Coates 9. Murdoch Lock 1. Robbie Deans 2. Jerry Blyth-Lafferty 3. Callum Norrie 4. Euan McVie 5. Ruaraidh Hart (VC) 6. Liam McConnell 7. Freddy Douglas 8. Jonny Morris.

Replacements: 16. Gavin Parry 17. Callum Smyth 18. Ryan Whitefield 19. Ryan Burke 20. Tom Currie 21. Eric Davey 22. Jack Hocking 23. Johnny Ventesei.

England: 15. Ioan Jones 14. Toby Cousins 13. Ben Redshaw 12. Sean Kerr 11. Alex Wills 10. Rory Taylor 9. Archie McParland 1. Asher Opoku-Fordjour 2. Craig Wright 3. Billy Sela 4. Joe Bailey 5. Finn Carnduff (c) 6. Nathan Michelow 7. Henry Pollock 8. Zach Carr.

Replacements: 16. Jacob Oliver 17. Scott Kirk 18. Afolabi Fasogbon 19. Harry Browne 20. Kane James 21. Ben Douglas 22. George Makepeace- Cubitt 23. Ben Waghorn

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