McConnell and Afshar to lead Scotland U20 squad in Nairobi

McConnell and Afshar to lead Scotland U20 squad in Nairobi

Scotland U20 Head Coach Kenny Murray has named his 28-man squad that will make the journey to Nairobi, Kenya to compete in this year’s World Rugby U20 Trophy.

The announcement comes before the squad travel to Kenya’s capital in mid-July for the three-week-long tournament. Scotland have been drawn in Pool A where they will compete against Uruguay, USA and Zimbabwe. The outcome of these clashes will then determine their spot in the play-offs against their respective Pool B teams which includes Spain, Samoa, Kenya and Hong Kong China. All matches will be played at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi.

Scotland U20 begin the campaign with their first match against Zimbabwe U20 on Saturday 15 July at 10am local time (8am BST). The young Scots then continue Thursday 20 July where they will take on USA U20 at 2pm local time (12pm BST). The pool matches conclude on Tuesday 25 July when the team will face Uruguay U20 at 4pm local time (2pm BST), determining their place in the final play offs which will take place on Sunday 30 July.

Murray’s squad contains 16 forwards and 12 backs, with 21 players returning to the U20 age-grade side after representing their country in the 2023 Under-20 Six Nations earlier this year.

Of the 28 players named, 22 have developed their skills in Scottish schools and clubs, with the other six coming through the Scottish Qualified system which identifies potential players from outside of the country who qualify to play for Scotland through certain eligibility criteria.

Boroughmuir Bears/Edinburgh Rugby Flanker Liam McConnell and Ayrshire Bulls scrum-half Ben Afshar will captain the young side. McConnell will be continuing his captain duties from the Under-20 Six Nations that took place earlier this year, this time joined by Afshar who impressed when taking on the role during their preparation match against Spain U20 last week.

The UK broadcaster of the tournament is still to be confirmed by World Rugby.

Head Coach Kenny Murray said: “After our preparation match against Spain U20 last weekend, we are looking forward to heading to Nairobi in a couple of weeks’ time.

“We were happy with many elements of play during that match but it also highlighted what we must work on if we want to be successful in the World Rugby U20 Trophy.

“We’ve been able to name a strong squad ahead of the tournament next month, with some familiar faces people will have seen during the Under-20 Six Nations and some new guys who earned their first caps in Spain last weekend.

“With Duncan Munn out through injury, we’ve chosen Ben Afshar to join Liam as co-captain. Ben impressed us when he took on this role in Spain, and along with Liam, we think they make a strong pair to lead the team.

“This tournament is a massive test for the squad. Not only does Kenya provide us with some unfamiliar environmental factors – like altitude and heat – but we will also be up against some very strong teams, all hungry for the winning title and promotion to the Championship.”


Scotland U20 Squad for World Rugby U20 Trophy


Jerry Blyth-Lafferty (Boroughmuir Bears/Edinburgh Rugby)*
Rudi Brown (Southern Knights)
Craig Davidson (Watsonians)
Robbie Deans (Watsonians/Edinburgh Rugby)*
Sam Derrick (Southern Knights)
Finn Duraj (Watsonians)
Eddie Erskine (Bath Rugby/Bath University)
Ruaraidh Hart (Stirling Wolves/Glasgow Warriors)*
Liam McConnell (Boroughmuir Bears/Edinburgh Rugby)* CO-CAPTAIN
Ollie Minnis (Hartpury University)
Jonny Morris (Watsonians/Glasgow Warriors)*
Callum Norrie (Stirling Wolves/Glasgow Warriors)*
Jake Parkinson (Ealing Trailfinders)
Jonny Smith (Harlequins)
Max Surry (Cardiff Met University)
Corey Tait (Boroughmuir Bears)


Ben Afshar (Ayrshire Bulls) CO-CAPTAIN
Finlay Burgess (Stirling Wolves/Edinburgh Rugby)*
Finn Douglas (Southern Knights/Edinburgh Rugby)*
Geordie Gwynn (Ealing Trailfinders)
Logan Jarvie (Stirling Wolves/Glasgow Warriors)*
Dan King (Heriot’s Rugby)
Andrew McLean (Boroughmuir Bears)
Hector Patterson (Watsonians/Edinburgh Rugby)*
Matt Reid (Watsonians)
Ben Salmon (Stirling Wolves/Glasgow Warriors)*
Findlay Thomson (Watsonians)
Kerr Yule (Ayrshire Bulls/Glasgow Warriors)*

* 2023/24 FOSROC Scottish Rugby Contracted Academy Player


World Rugby U20 Trophy – Scotland U20 Fixtures

Saturday 15 July: Scotland v Zimbabwe @ 10am (8am BST)
Thursday 20 July: Scotland v USA @ 2pm (12pm BST)
Tuesday 25 July: Scotland v Uruguay @ 4pm (2pm BST)

Sunday 30 July:
Group A 4th v Group B 4th @ 10am (8am BST)
Group A 3rd v Group B 3rd @ 12pm (10am BST)
Group A 2nd v Group B 2nd @ 2pm (12pm BST)
Group A 1st v Group B 1st @ 4pm (2pm BST)

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