Scotland and Wales U20s have named their sides to face each other in their final U20s 6 Nations game on Friday evening at Colwyn Bay.
Both sides lost last weekend, with Wales taking a bit of a drubbing against England, while Scotland were slightly more impressive in a close defeat to France, though the rest of their championship has been somewhat disappointing.
Scotlandâ€™s Head Coach, Sean Lineen, alluded to that improvement in the performance against France ahead of this game though, saying:
“The belief is coming for our guys. We still lost the match but parts of our game are up to scratch. We’re looking to have gained a lot of confidence after last weekend.â€
Both Lineen and Welsh Head Coach, Byron Hayward were both keen to stress their respect on the opposition and the need to prepare properly ahead to this summerâ€™s Junior World Championship, with Hayward saying:
“We won’t be underestimating Scotland in any way but we need to concentrate on improving areas of our own game this week.â€
“We know we are a lot better team than our performance against England last Friday would suggest,â€ said Hayward. “We lost the physical battle in that game and missed a huge number of tackles.”
“Individually and collectively, that display is not what we’ve come to expect over the last couple of years. But we have a chance to put that right on Friday in our last competitive game before the Junior World Championship.â€
Lineen echoed that, saying: “We know how difficult this game is going to be and I expect the guys to front up. We need to play the game in the right area, get the setpiece right and have to keep striving to improve.”
“The guys are looking to get involved in the Junior World Championship squad and they’ll be fighting hard to make an impact.â€
Both sides have made changes to their sides, Scotland make three with Gavin Lowe and Ben Vellacott coming in for Ben Chalmers and Murdo McAndrew, while Sam James comes in for Jack Cosgrove in the front row.
Bryon Hayward makes four changes to the Welsh lineup, bringing Joshua Adams onto the wing, and Luc Jones in at scrum half, while in the forwards Scott Otten makes his first start of the campaign at hooker, and Olly Cracknell makes his debut in the back row.
With the JWC now the main focus for both these sides, this should be a very interesting game, with players from both sides desperate to make an impression ahead of selection for the squads. For Wales there is also the added incentive of trying to banish that memory of defeat last week.
What have you thought of Scotland and Wales in the U20 6 Nations, have you seen any stars of the future? Let us know via @FifteenRugbyXV or just comment below.
Wales U20 v Scotland U20, Colwyn Bay, Kick off 19.00, Friday 14th March.
Ashley Evans (Ospreys); Tyler Morgan (Dragons), Steffan Hughes (capt, Scarlets), Jack Dixon (Dragons), Joshua Adams (Scarlets); Angus O’Brien (Dragons), Luc Jones (Dragons); Nicky Smith (Ospreys), Scott Otten (Ospreys), Nicky Thomas (Ospreys), Ben Roach (Blues), Joe Davies (Dragons), Olly Cracknell (RGC), James Benjamin (Dragons), Will Boyde (Carmarthen).
Replacements: Elliot Dee (Dragons), Leon Crump (Blues), Benjamin Leung (Scarlets), Scott Andrews (Dragons), Ollie Griffiths (Dragons), Tom Williams (Blues), Luke Price (Ospreys), Harri Evans (RGC).
15 Damien Hoyland (Melrose)Â 14 Jamie Farndale (Edinburgh Accies/Edinburgh Rugby)Â 13 Blair Hutchison (Melrose/ Loughborough Univiversity)Â 12 Ruairidh Young (Edinburgh Accies)Â 11 Sam Pecqueur (Edinburgh Accies)Â 10Gavin Lowe (Glasgow Hawks/Glasgow Warriors)Â 9 Ben Vellacott (Gloucester/Hartpury);Â 1 James Malcolm (Ayr)Â 2 Sam JamesÂ (London Wasps)Â 3 D’Arcy Rae (Ayr)Â 4 Andrew Cramond (Aberdeen Grammar)Â 5 Lewis Carmichael (Melrose)Â 6 Tommy Spinks (captain, London Scottish)Â 7 Gabriel Carroll (Loughborough University)Â 8 Magnus Bradbury (Boroughmuir/Edinburgh Rugby).
Replacements: 16 Isaac Miller (Loughborough University)Â 17 Cameron Fenton (Strathallan/Howe of Fife)Â 18 Phil Cringle (Edinburgh Accies/Edinburgh Rugby)Â 19 Glen Young (Newcastle Falcons)Â 20 Neil Irvine-Hess (Watsonians/Edinburgh Rugby)Â 21 Sean Yacoubian (Glasgow Hawks)Â 22 George Horne (Currie)Â 23 Angus Rennie (Aberdeen Grammar).