England U20s have made two changes to their side ahead of their match against Scotland on Friday, following their 21-15 defeat to France last week.
Coming into the side are Leicester Tigers flanker Will Owen, and Leeds Carnegie hooker Jack Walker. Walker will become the second youngest player to pull on the U20s jersey, at just 17 years of age, behind the promising Exeter Chiefs hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie.
Walker comes in for Leicester Tigers hooker Harry Thacker, as Thacker is in line to play for his club this weekend, while Owen comes in at openside in place of Exeter Chiefsâ€™ Joel Conlon, who drops down to the bench.
Also on the bench are Leicester Tigers prop Harry Rudkin and Exeter Chiefs scrum half Stuart Townsend, both of whom are poised for their first appearance in the U20s 6 Nations.
Aside from that the team remains unchanged, with Callum Braley still leading the side from scrum half, and last weekâ€™s try scorers, Tom Stephenson and Maro Itoje, retaining their places at inside centre and second row respectively.
Head Coach Nick Walshe spoke of his determination to perform better than they did against France, and his admiration of Walker saying:
“It was frustrating against France because we know that we could have caused them a few more problems, but it just wasn’t to be in that game. We’ve got faith in the back-line to deliver this week and hopefully the forwards can create a platform and we can go out there and perform like I know we can.â€
“He’s (Walker) a really talented player. It was a shame to lose Harry (Thacker), but he’s gone back to Leicester which is great for him, and it gives us a chance to give Jack a game which is something we had planned to do later in the tournament anyway. But Jack is a very good player and I’m sure he’ll stand up to the Scottish challenge.â€
Scotland, meanwhile, have made a number of changes following their heavy defeat to Ireland U20s last week, with Ruaraidh Young, Ben Vellacott, and Blair Hutchison all coming into the backline, at full back, scrum half, and outside centre respectively, while Damien Hoyland moves from the centre to the wing.
Things have also been shuffled in the pack, where Jack Cosgrove is promoted from the bench at prop, while Buchan Richardson slides from number eight to the blindside flank, with Magnus Bradbury moving the other way. Tommy Spinks retains the 7 shirt and the captaincy.
Intoduced onto the bench are Glasgow Hawks’ Chris Barnes, Scotland 7s’ Chris Dean, and former England under-18, Northampton Saints Academy and Canterbury flanker Gabriel Carroll.
Speaking ahead of the game, Scotland U20s Head Coach Sean Lineen said:
“We need to improve on the Irish game. It was a steep learning curve for the players but they have responded well in training this week.â€
“We now face the current world champions, England, chock full of Aviva and even Heineken experience. We need to match their physicality across the field and play to our strengths.Everyone is looking for a big performance and we need a huge home support to create a special atmosphere on the night”
The game takes place at Netherdale on Friday evening at 19.30, and will be streamed live on www.rfu.com and on the SRUâ€™s YouTube channel.
What do you think of the England and Scotland U20s sides, who do you think will win and who are the players to watch? Let us know via the comment box below or on @FifteenRugbyXV
England Under 20s XV:
15 Nathan Earle (Saracens)Â 14 Zach Kibirige (Newcastle Falcons)Â 13 Nick Tompkins (Saracens)Â 12 Tom Stephenson (Northampton Saints)Â 11 Henry Purdy (Leicester Tigers)Â 10 Billy Burns (Gloucester Rugby)Â 9 Callum Braley (Bristol Rugby, captain);Â 1 Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi (Northampton Saints)Â 2 Jack Walker (Leeds Carnegie)Â 3 Paul Hill (Leeds Carnegie)Â 4 Maro Itoje (Saracens)Â 5 Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby)Â 6 Ross Moriarty (Gloucester Rugby)Â 7 Will Owen (Leicester Tigers)Â 8 James Chisholm (Harlequins).
Replacements: 16 Tom Woolstencroft (Bath Rugby)Â 17 Alex Lundberg (London Wasps)Â 18 Harry Rudkin (Leicester Tigers)Â 19 Tom Ellis (Bath Rugby)Â 20 Joel Conlon (Exeter Chiefs)Â 21 Stuart Townsend (Exeter Chiefs)Â 22 Sam Olver (Northampton Saints)Â 23 Howard Packman (Northampton Saints).
Scotland U20s XV:
15 Ruairidh Young (Edinburgh Accies)Â 14 Jamie Farndale (Edinburgh Accies/Edinburgh Rugby)Â 13 Blair Hutchison (Loughborough/Melrose)Â 12 Neil Herron (Glasgow Hawks/Scotland 7s)Â 11 Damien Hoyland (Melrose)Â 10 Ben Chalmers (Melrose)Â 9 Ben Vellacott (Worcester Warriors/Hartpury);Â 1 Jack Cosgrove (Worcester Warriors)Â 2 Sam James (London Wasps) 3 D’Arcy Rae (Ayr/Glasgow Warriors)Â 4 Andrew Cramond (Aberdeen Grammar Rugby)Â 5 Glen Young (Newcastle Falcons)Â 6 Buchan Richardson (London Scottish)Â 7 Tommy Spinks (London Scottish, captain)Â 8 Magnus Bradbury (Boroughmuir/Edinburgh Rugby).
Replacements: 16 James Malcolm (Ayr)Â 17 Philip Cringle (Edinburgh Accies/Edinburgh Rugby)Â 18 Chris Barnes (Glasgow Hawks)Â 19 Lewis Carmichael (Melrose)Â 20 Gabriel Carroll (Loughborough University)Â 21 Murdo McAndrew (Clermont Auvergne)Â 22 Ben Cooper (Boroughmuir)Â 23 Chris Dean (Edinburgh Accies/ Scotland 7s).