The second round of the U20 RBS 6 Nations takes place this evening, and it promises to be an exciting evening after a stunning opening round.
Scotland were perhaps the stars of the show last weekend as they beat England for the first ever time at U20 level, a stunning 24-6 victory.
That victory has come at a cost though, with three of the stars of that victory, fly half Adam Hastings, full back Blair Kinghorn, and blindside flanker Jamie Ritchie all called up to their pro clubs for the weekend.
For Hastings in particular, this is a stunning achievement, it will be his first start for the Bath 1st XV. It comes in tough circumstances though, Bath are struggling for form and his promotion comes with George Ford, Ollie Devoto and Rhys Priestland away on international duty, while potential ‘fillers-in’ of the 10 shirt is Dan Bowden, Kyle Eastmond, Rory Jennings, and Brett Herron all injured. After a performance like last week’s though, you would bet on Hastings having a performance to be remembered tomorrow.
It leaves Scotland U20 without some of their top performers though, which will make life hard tonight against Wales, who were one of the best performers in the first round as they beat Ireland in a thriller, 35-24.
Kick off between the two is at 18.30 and is live on S4C.
Scotland’s win also leaves England with a huge hole to dig themselves out of, and they have also made changes, bringing in Felsted old boy Max Malins, Sale Sharks’ George Nott, Bath’s Zach Mercer, and Worcester’s Jack Singleton for injured captain Jack Walker.
England will be confident of victory though, they face an Italian U20 side in Venice who were beaten 40-0 last week by France U20. England can also look to the Bath side this weekend to see what opportunities are soon likely to be available. Last year’s U20 centre Max Clark starts at outside centre, while 2014 second row pair Tom Ellis and Charlie Ewels are also involved, Ellis starts with Ewels on the bench. Meanwhile Beno Obano, a Schools Cup winner with Dulwich College in 2012 and 2013 is also on the bench for Bath.
England U20 need only also look to the England side for Sunday’s clash against Italy, with 2013 and 2014 U20 captains, Jack Clifford and Maro Itoje, on the bench, along with another member of the 2014 team Paul Hill, while 2013 U20 stars Jack Nowell and Anthony Watson start.
The final U20 game of the round sees Ireland travel to France. France are high on confidence after that 40-0 win over Italy, but Ireland will be looking desperately for a win after an excellent performance could not yield a result for them against Wales.
It should be a great evening of U20 rugby, followed by a superb opportunity for so many young players across the RBS 6 Nations and the Aviva Premiership this weekend.
U20 RBS 6 Nations Fixtures – Friday 12th February
Italy U20 v England U20 – 18.10 (Live on www.englandrugby.com )
Wales U20 v Scotland U20 – 18.30 (Live on S4C)
France U20 v Ireland U20 – 20.05
U20 RBS 6 Nations – Home Nations’ Teams (Bath XV also included)
England U20 XV
15 Max Malins (Saracens) 14 George Perkins (Saracens) 13 Joe Marchant (Harlequins) 12 Charlie Thacker (Leicester Tigers) 11 Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby) 10 Mathew Protheroe (Gloucester Rugby) 9 Max Green (Yorkshire Carnegie) 1 Tom West (Wasps) 2 Jack Singleton (Worcester Warriors) 3 Will Stuart (Wasps) 4 Huw Taylor (Worcester Warriors) 5 George Nott (Sale Sharks) 6 Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby) 7 Sam Smith (Worcester Warriors) 8 Callum Chick (Newcastle Falcons, c).
Replacements: 16 Curtis Langdon (London Irish) 17 Ralph Adams-Hale (Saracens) 18 Billy Keast (Exeter Chiefs) 19 Stan South (Harlequins) 20 Jack Willis (Wasps) 21 Jamie Shillcock (Worcester Warriors) 22 Joe Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs) 23 Paolo Odogwu (Leicester Tigers).
Ireland U20 XV:
15 Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster) 14 Matthew Byrne (Terenure College/Leinster) 13 Shane Daly (Cork Constitution/Munster) 12 Jimmy O’Brien (UCD/Leinster) 11 Conor O’Brien (Clontarf/Leinster) 10 Johnny McPhillips (Queen’s University/Ulster) 9 John Poland (Cork Constitution/Munster) 1 Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster) 2 Adam McBurney (Ballymena/Ulster) 3 Conor Kenny (Buccaneers/Connacht) 4 Peter Claffey (Galwegians/Connacht) 5 James Ryan (Lansdowne/Leinster) (c) 6 Cillian Gallagher (Sligo/Connacht) 7 Dan Walsh (Cork Constitution/Munster) 8 Max Deegan (Lansdowne/Leinster).
Replacements: 16 Shane Fenton (Young Munster/Munster) 17 James Bollard (Dublin University/Leinster) 18 Conan O’Donnell (Sligo/Connacht) 19 Sean O’Connor (Cashel/Munster) 20 Kelvin Brown (Shannon/Munster) 21 Stephen Kerins (Sligo/Connacht) 22 Brett Connon (Newcastle Falcons/Exiles) 23 Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College/Leinster).
Scotland U20 XV:
15 Ruairi Howarth 14 Darcy Graham 13 George Taylor 12 Tom Galbraith 11 Robbie Nairn 10 Rory Hutchinson 9 Hugh Fraser 1 Murray McCallum 2 Jack Kerr 3 Callum Sheldon 4 Callum Hunter-Hill 5 Scott Cummings 6 Andrew Davidson 7 Matt Smith 8 Ally Miller.
Replacements: 16 Lewis Anderson 17 Goerge Thornton 18 Adam Nicol 19 Stephen Ainslie 20 Scott Burnside 21 Charlie Shiel 22 Chris Lines 23 Ben Robbins.
Wales Under 20 XV:
15 Rhun Williams (RGC); 14 Elis-Wyn Benham (Cardiff Blues), 13 Joe Thomas (Ospreys), 12 Harri Millard (Cardiff Blues), 11 Keelan Giles (Ospreys); 10 Dan Jones (Scarlets), 9 Reuben Morgan-Williams (Ospreys); 1 Corey Domachowski (Cardiff Blues), 2 Dafydd Hughes (Scarlets), 3 Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues), 4 Shane Lewis-Hughes (Cardiff Blues), 5 Bryce Morgan (Newport Gwent Dragons), 6 Tom Phillips (captain, Scarlets), 7 Shaun Evans (Scarlets), 8 Harrison Keddie (Newport Gwent Dragons).
Replacements: 16 Ifan Phillips (Scarlets), 17 Robert Lewis (Cardiff Blues), 18 Leon Brown (Newport Gwent Dragons), 19 James Ratti (Ospreys), 20 Morgan Sieniawski (Cardiff Blues), 21 Declan Smith (Scarlets), 22 Billy McBryde (Scarlets), 23 Joe Gage (Ospreys).
15 Tom Homer 14 Semesa Rokoduguni 13 Max Clark 12 Matt Banahan 11 Horacio Agulla 10 Adam Hastings 9 Niko Matawalu 1 Nick Auterac 2 Rob Webber 3 Henry Thomas 4 Stuart Hooper (c) 5 Tom Ellis 6 Leroy Houston 7 Guy Mercer 8 Amanaki Mafi.
Replacements: 16 Ross Batty 17 Beno Obano 18 David Wilson 19 Charlie Ewels 20 Dominic Day 21 Matt Garvey 22 Jonathan Evans 23 Jeff Williams.
Injuries: Dave Attwood, Dan Bowden, Chris Cook, Kyle Eastmond, Max Lahiff, Francois Louw, Kane Palma-Newport (all Senior Team); Darren Atkins, Rory Jennings, Brett Herron, Max Northcote-Green, Tom Woolstencroft (all Academy)