Scotland U20 team announced for final push
Head coach Kenny Murray has named his team to face Italy in the final round of the 2023 Under-20 Six Nations which takes place this Sunday 19 March at Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow (kick-off 2pm) – live on BBC iPlayer.
After a challenging experience against Ireland last weekend, the young team will play in front of a home crowd for the last time this campaign at Scotstoun.
Craig Davidson is named at loosehead prop, the position he has started every game of the 2023 campaign since coming off the bench against England. He joins forces with Eben Cairns (Glasgow Hawks) who will be making his Scotland U20 debut at tighthead, replacing Moby Ogunlaja who misses out due to an injury sustained against Ireland. The hooker position is filled by Jerry Blyth-Lafferty who makes his first start this campaign, replacing Corey Tait who is moved to the replacements bench.
A full change at second row sees Eddie Erskine making his first start in the number four jersey in place of Jake Parkinson whose red card against Ireland rules him out for three games. Erskine is joined by Ruaraidh Hart, who impressed off the bench last weekend putting him in this week’s starting line-up.
Liam McConnell leads the pack as blindside flanker and is joined by Sam Derrick at openside.
Derrick takes the position from an injured Rudi Brown. Jonny Morris dons the Number 8 jersey, making this his fourth start during the 2023 Under-20 Six Nations.
Ben Afshar returns at scrum-half with Richie Simpson at stand-off to create the half-back pairing. Afshar replaces the injured Finlay Burgess, whilst Simpson’s availability makes him first choice at number ten.
It’s five-for-five for the centre pairing as co-captain Duncan Munn and Kerr Yule complete their 2023 campaign the way they have done for the last four rounds. Geordie Gwynn will take charge of the left wing for the second consecutive week, this time joined by Kerr Johnston on the right who will be making his Under-20 Six Nations debut in front of a home crowd. Dan King retains the full-back jersey, completing the starting team.
The replacements bench sees a five-three split with Corey Tait, Max Surry, Robbie Deans, Harris McLeod and Ewan Guy in place to support the forwards and Charlie Clare, Ben Salmon and Will Robinson providing cover for the backs.
Head Coach Kenny Murray said: “Last week was tough, for the players, management, and the crowd.
“We know it wasn’t good enough but as I told the guys, the most important thing is that we accept it, pick ourselves up and work even harder to get a good result this week.
“Italy’s a strong team, their set piece and technique has been very good throughout the past few weeks. We must cut out the basic errors that let us down last week if we want to end the campaign on a high note.”
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Scotland U20 team to face Italy on Sunday 19 March at Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow (kick-off 2pm – live on BBC iPlayer)
15. Dan King** (Heriot’s Rugby)
14. Kerr Johnston** (Boroughmuir Bears)
13. Duncan Munn* (Boroughmuir Bears/Glasgow Warriors) (CC)
12. Kerr Yule** (Glasgow Hawks)
11. Geordie Gwynn (Ealing Trailfinders/Brunel University)
10. Richie Simpson (Ayrshire Bulls)
9. Ben Afshar* (Ayrshire Bulls/Glasgow Warriors)
1. Craig Davidson (Watsonian FC)
2. Jerry Blyth-Lafferty** (Boroughmuir Bears)
3. Eben Cairns** (Glasgow Hawks)
4. Eddie Erskine (Bath University)
5. Ruaraidh Hart** (Glasgow Hawks)
6. Liam McConnell* (Boroughmuir Bears/Edinburgh Rugby) (CC)
7. Sam Derrick** (Southern Knights)
8. Jonny Morris** (GHA RFC)
16. Corey Tait** (Boroughmuir Bears)
17. Max Surry (Cardiff Met University)
18. Robbie Deans* (Watsonians/Edinburgh Rugby)
19. Harris McLeod* (Stirling Wolves/Glasgow Warriors)
20. Ewan Guy (Cardiff Met University)
21. Charlie Clare (Harlequins/Surrey University)
22. Ben Salmon* (Stirling Wolves/Glasgow Warriors)
23. Will Robinson (Caldy RFC)
*FOSROC Scottish Rugby Contracted Academy Player
**FOSROC Scottish Rugby Regional Academy Player