England and Scotland have named their sides for Friday night’s U20 6 Nations Calcutta Cup clash.
Kicking off at 7.30pm at Myreside, the two sides go in to the game in contrasting form, with England have beaten Italy and Wales, while Scotland were beaten by Wales and heavily by France.
Scotland Head Coach Stevie Scott has made two changes to his side that were soundly beaten by France last time out. Former Wellington College player Rory McMichael comes in on the right wing in place of Logan Trotter who moves to the bench. McMichael joins an otherwise unchanged back three of Paddy Dewhirst and Kyle Rowe.
There centre partnership is unchanged with vice captain Stafford McDowall and Callum McLelland the partnership, Ross Thompson is at outside half again, continuing alongside Gloucester’s Charlie Chapman.
The only change in the pack sees Martin Hughes come in for injured Archie Erskine, the former Uppingham pupil. Northampton Saints’ Devante Onojaife is at number 8, with Guy Graham at openside. The tight five remains the same, with skipper Robbie Smith, Shaun Gunn, and Finlay Richardson up front, and Ewan Hohnson and Jamie Hodgson behind them.
England Head Coach Steve Bates, in contrast, has made a number of changes, with five potential debutants in the side. Bromsgrove pupil Ollie Lawrence is one, the schoolboy starts alongside his Worcester Warriors teammate, and captain on the night, Will Butler in the centres.
The two other starting debutants are on the wings in Gloucester’s Tom Seabrook and Harlquins’ Cadan Murley. They are joined in the back three by Leicester Tigers’ Jordan Olowofela, who moves from wing to full-back.
It is all change at half back too, with Leicester Tigers and former Rugby School pupil Tom Hardwick at fly half and London Irish’s Rory Brand at scrum half, the former Wellington College pupil will be lining up against former schoolmate McMichael for Scotland.
Up front there is a new front row for England, with Alex Seville, Gabriel Oghre, and Ehren Painter all starting. Behind them Worcester Warriors’ Ted Hill, who played last year as an U18, comes in alongside former Denstone College pupil Sam Lewis.
The back row is sees another former Wellington College pupil, Josh Basham, at six, with Gloucester’s Aaron Hinkley at 7, and Sale Sharks’ Sam Moore, the former Sedbergh pupil, at number 8 after his time with the senior set up last week.
The two benches should provide plenty of intrigue, not least between Northampton Saints centres and former Bedford stars Fraser Strachan for Scotland and Fraser Dingwall for England, the two will likely line up opposite one another when they come on. There are three other Northampton Saints on the benches, James Grayson and Toby Trinder for England, and Marshall Sykes for Scotland, who is still at school at St Joseph’s College.
Joining Strachan, Trotter, and Sykes on the Scotland bench are Murphy Walker, Rory Darge, and Kaleem Baretto, as well as Ealing’s Bradley Clements and the Golden Lions’ Nathan McBeth.
England could give debuts from the bench to Worcester Warrios hooker Beck Cutting and Saracens flanker Sean Reffell. Completing the bench alongside them, Trinder, Grayson, and Dingwall are Worcester Warriors’ James Scott and Leicester Tigers’ Joe Heyes and Ben White, who skippered England last time out.
Speaking ahead of the game Scotland U20 head Coach Stevie Scott said:
“I’ve said it before, the more games this group play together, the better they’ll get. So, I’m hoping for a further improvement from where we’ve been. Against France, our set-piece tightened up a lot, because we struggled with that in our first match against Wales”
“Our mauls are a positive; that’s definitely a strength for us. We’ve looked really dangerous from the maul and managed to cause France some problems with that. Towards the end of the France game, the boys showed a bit of fight and that’s what we need to do against England. I’ve said to the boys this week, if there was ever a time to get a reaction, this is the time to do it. At home and against England. “
“We’re playing them at Myreside, which myself and the squad are really looking forward to. I think we’ll have a decent crowd and they’ll be hoping for a reaction too.”
England Head Coach Steve Bates meanwhile said:
“We are looking for another step forward in terms of our intent to play rugby. We had a much-improved performance against Wales, but we are still looking to improve in certain areas of our game which we felt did not go quite as well as we would have liked.”
“We saw some good individual performances against Wales, now we want to play cohesively as a team. Scotland at home will be dangerous opponents, their previous results are not necessarily an indicator of a side’s potential as it takes a while to get together as a team in this tournament and we’re expecting a spirited performance off them.”
“It’s the curtain raiser to the big game on Saturday and they will want to set the tone so we’ll be ready for a passionate Scotland team.”
Scotland U20 v England U20 – Friday 23rd February, 7.30pm, Myreside
15 Paddy Dewhirst (Ayr), 14 Rory McMichael (Glasgow Hawks), 13 Stafford McDowall (Ayr, vc), 12 Callum McLelland (Edinburgh Rugby), 11 Kyle Rowe (Glasgow Hawks), 10 Ross Thompson (Glasgow Hawks), 9 Charlie Chapman (Gloucester), 1 Shaun Gunn (Edinburgh Accies), 2 Robbie Smith (Ayr, captain), 3 Finlay Richardson (Edinburgh Accies), 4 Ewan Johnson (Racing 92), 5 Jamie Hodgson (Watsonains), 6 Martin Hughes (Heriots), 7 Guy Graham (Hawick), 8 Devante Onojaife (Northampton Saints).
Replacements: 16 Bradley Clements (Ealing), 17 Nathan McBeth (Lions), 18 Murphy Walker (Dundee HSFP), 19 Marshall Sykes (St Joseph’s College/Northampton Saints), 20. Rory Darge (Melrose), 21 Kaleem Barreto (Marr), 22 Fraser Strachan (Northampton Saints), 23 Logan Trotter (Stirling County).
15 Jordan Olowofela (Leicester Tigers), 14 Tom Seabrook (Gloucester), 13 Ollie Lawrence (Bromsgrove & Worcester Warriors), 12 Will Butler (Worcester Warriors, captain), 11 Cadan Murley (Harlequins), 10 Tom Hardwick (Leicester Tigers), 9 Rory Brand (London Irish), 1 Alex Seville (Gloucester), 2 Gabriel Oghre (Wasps), 3 Ehren Painter (Northampton Saints), 4 Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors), 5 Sam Lewis (Leicester Tigers), 6 Josh Basham (Wellington College), 7 Aaron Hinkley (Gloucester), 8 Sam Moore (Sale Sharks).
Replacements: 16 Beck Cutting (Worcester Warriors), 17 Toby Trinder (Northampton Saints), 18 Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers), 19 James Scott (Worcester Warriors), 20 Sean Reffell (Saracens), 21 Ben White (Leicester Tigers), 22 James Grayson (Northampton Saints), 23 Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints).