Scotland U20 v Wales U20: Match Guide

Scotland U20 v Wales U20: Match Guide

The fixtures come thick and fast during the under-20 Six Nations, with Scotland and Wales desperate to make amends from opening day losses, although both sides can draw upon shoots of positivity from round one. Our Match Guide looks at that first round of fixtures, as well as all the team news and focus on two of Scotland's talented youngsters.

Wales led 15-14 at the break against a much-fancied Irish outift, with centre Louie Hennessey and winger Llien Morgan crossing at Stadiwm CSM in Colwyn Bay. In the end, Ireland rallied to score four second-half tries in a 44-27 win, although the last of these came in the dying embers of the match and put some gloss on what was a tight encounter.

As for Scotland, their own campaign may have started with a loss to England at The Stoop, but the signs from Kenny Murray’s young group were encouraging. Against a side littered with professional experience, some of it at the highest level of club competition, Scotland kept themselves in the fight until the last knockings, leading with ten minutes to go and looking like they might stage a comeback for the ages.

First-half tries from forwards Harris McLeod and Rudi Brown, aided by ten points from the steady boot of Richie Simpson, saw Scotland’s youngsters head to half-time with a not insurmountable 11-point deficit – a deficit they would actually wipe out in the second half.

Blistering out of the blocks, Scotland scored ten quick points through a Liam McConnell try (pictured, above) and Simpson’s kicking, before the stand-off added three more penalties in six minutes to remarkably give Scotland a 36-31 lead. England eventually steeled themselves to score a late converted try and in a 41-36 victory but Scotland, ahead of their second fixture against Wales, will have taken great hope from an excellent showing.


Scotland have won twice in this fixture in the past six meetings, taking the spoils in a 27-20 victory at Meggetland in 2019 before racing to a 52-17 success just before Covid took hold in early 2020 in a game where Nathan Chamberlain notched a mighty 32 points. Those squads contained several players who are now full internationals: Murphy Walker, Ewan Ashman, Ross Thompson, Rory Darge and Ollie Smith; who will be the next Scotland U20 breakout star?

Pictured: Scotland’s Rory Darge and Ewan Ashman ahead of the Six Nations Under 20 Championship match between Scotland and France at Netherdale on March 06, 2020


We sat down with a few of the current Scotland U20 squad to chat about their rugby journey so far, and what makes them tick away from the game. The first two in this series are Richie Simpson, the Ayrshire Bulls stand-off who impressed with the boot against England last week, and his half-back partner Ben Afshar, who plays for Southern Knights.

Ritchie Simpson – Stand-off

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I’m currently at university, studying Finance Investment. I also like playing a bit of golf.

What’s your first rugby memory?

My first rugby memory is probably my first minis tournament and getting Man of the Match in my first game.

What’s your journey to the U20s been like and what was the turning point where you would end up?

My journey has been that I’ve played at Ayr in the club team last year then made the transition into Super6 this year, which is when I realised this was something that could happen.

What kind of player would you say you are?

I like to run with it, I’m a running 10 with a little bit of flare, but nothing too much!

Who has been the biggest influence in your career to date and why?

My biggest influence has probably been Frazier Climo; he’s coached me all through my years at Ayr and with him being a 10 as well, he’s been really good for me.

Who was your rugby idol growing up?

Growing up probably Dan Carter and then as I got a bit older maybe Finn Russell, I watched him at Ayr when I was younger.

Ben Afshar – Scrum-half

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I recently picked up DJing. I like music so I recently picked up a bit of production and in my free time I like to DJ at parties with my friends.

What’s your first memory of rugby?

I’m from Edinburgh so I started playing at Accies minis because I went to Edinburgh Academy primary school. I remember being taken down there by my dad as that’s where all my cousins played a bit of rugby as well.

What’s your journey to the Scotland U20s been like?

I was at Merchiston Castle School for my last bit of school but because of Covid in my last year we didn’t really play much rugby, which resulted in a year of not really playing at all. So out of school I’ve joined Accies again (the senior team), played a bit there but I tore my hamstring so I missed out on a bit of Six Nations last year.

What team are you playing with at the moment?

I’m senior academy at Glasgow Warriors and I’m currently aligned with Ayrshire Bulls but I’ve not actually played for them yet.

What kind of player would you say you are?

I would like to say I’m a controlled scrum-half with a little bit of a spark as well. I think I run the game quite well with kicking and putting people through space.

Who has been the biggest influence in your career and why?

My dad has played a big part in my journey so far. He took me to games when I was younger, he’s always been at my games, supporting on the side lines – he’s very loud, you can definitely hear him. I grew up obviously with Greg Laidlaw captaining and playing for Scotland so he got me into goal-kicking and learning how to run the game and I think that’s influenced how I play the game a lot.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen on a rugby pitch?

I’ve had a few box kicks that have not come off perfectly and hit someone in the face!


You can watch this evening’s under-20 Six Nations match between at Scotstoun between Scotland and Wales on BBC iPlayer, kick-off 7.15pm. 



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