The U20 Six Nations continues on Thursday with the third round after a thrilling opening two rounds of action. Each side has shuffled their deck to an extent, but there is plenty of consistency of selection too as they head into a third game in thirteen days.
There is not too much chance for rest after this round either, with the final two rounds taking place on the 7thand 13th of July, hence each matchday squad has 26 players rather than the usual 23 to allow more rotation.
All three of Thursday’s games can be viewed on the U20 Six Nations YouTube channel, with kick offs at 2pm, 5pm, and 8pm.
England and Ireland are the only two sides that remain unbeaten, they go head to head at 8pm, while kicking the day off at 2pm are Scotland and Italy, neither of whom has a victory to their name yet, meanwhile at 5pm France and Wales kick off, having won a game and lost a game each.
Scotland v Italy – Thursday, 2pm – U20 Six Nations YouTube
Scotland had a second tricky outing in a row last time out against England, losing to a powerful young English side 31-12, having previously gone down 38-7 to Ireland, though in that game Scotland were reduced to 14 men for much of it.
Scotland make six changes in personnel to the side that lost to England, plus a few positional changes too. Up front Cole Lamberton comes in for Michael Jones at loosehead, while Archie Smeaton comes in on the blindside flank for Rory Jackson, but the big news is the return of captain Alex Samuel in the second row for Euan Ferrie, Samuel partners Max Williamson, as against Ireland, who moves from 5 to 4.
In the backline three players come in and there are also two positional shift. Finlay Callaghan and Adam Scott come in for Michael Gray and Ross McKnight on each wing, while Thomas Glendinning comes in at 13, with Scott King moving from 13 to 12 and Cameron Scott from 12 to 10, with Christian Townsend dropping to the bench. Hooker Patrick Harrison returns to the bench after returning from the injury that prevented him from starting against England.
Italy make a number of changes to their side that lost out so narrowly to France last time out. Tommaso Menoncello comes in at 13 to Fabio Schiabel, with Filippo Drago stepping in a position to 12. Manfredi Albanese meanwhile replaces Alessandro Garbisi at scrum half.
Up front Luca Andreani comes in for Giulio Marucchini on the blindside flank and takes over the captaincy, meanwhile Giacomo Ferrari steps into the second row for Riccardo Andreoli. In the front row both props change, Ion Neculai and Mirco Spangnolo coming in for Muhamed Hasa and Luca Rizzoli respectively. Andrea Angelone, Nicolo Teneggi, and Arturo Fusari all have a chance to impress off the bench having missed out on the 26 last time out.
France v Wales – Thursday, 5pm – U20 Six Nations YouTube
France only just escaped against Italy last time out, 13-11, thanks to another brilliant effort from Epee on the left wing. Epee drops out of the starting XV this time out though, with Reybier coming in on the left wing. Meanwhile Tchaptchet joins him in the back three, replacing Garcia. There are changes at 9, 10, and 12 for France too, with Le Garrec replacing Seguela at scrum half and taking over the captaincy, Debaes replaces Retiere at 10, and Barre replaces Riguet at 12.
In the forward pack it is an all-new front row as Bordenave, Montgaillard, and Mallez come in for Moukoro, Boudou, and Fakatika. There is one further change in the forward pack as openside Haddad comes in for Lachaise, having starred in the opening weekend against England. On the bench Sa, Verge, and Idjellidaine all come in having been outside of the squad last time out.
After a storming opening round against Italy, Wales suffered a tough defeat to Ireland last time out. Ioan Cunningham has freshened is side accordingly, with four new faces in the pack. Mann moves from the blindside to 7 and will captain the side, that allows Christ Tshiunza to replace Deaves and start at 6. Jenkins moves from 5 to 4, with Fender coming in at 5 and replacing Peard in the second row. In the front row, meanwhile, Burrows replaces Daniel at hooker, with Jones coming in for Evans at tighthead.
In the backline the Harry Williams/Sam Costelow half back partnership takes a rest, with Lloyd coming in at scrum half and Reed at fly half. Elsewhere James comes in for Evans at outside centre, with Florence replacing McDonough on the left wing.
Ireland v England – Thursday, 8pm – U20 Six Nations YouTube
Ireland have scored the most points in the tournament so far, 78, after their 40-12 and 38-7 defeats of Wales and Scotland respectively. They also have the most miserly defence in the tournament, conceding just 19 so far.
Unsurprisingly, then, Richie Murphy keeps his changes to a minimum. Only the props are changed with Jack Boyle and Mark Donnelly doing a turn on the bench and Temi Lasisi and Sam Illo coming in to start. On the bench Jack Kelleher and Chay Mullins come in at being outside the 26 against Wales.
England have been on a similar trajectory to Ireland, though a brilliant opening half from France in Round 1 means their points conceded column is a touch higher. Alan Dickens shuffles his deck a little though, necessarily up front with Lucas Brooke suspended after his red card against Scotland. That changes sees Emeka Ilione also miss out on the starting XV, with Ewan Richards moving from the back row to the blindside flank, Jack Clement moving from 8 to the openside, Arthur Clark coming into the side in the second row, and Nahum Merigan coming in at number 8.
In the backline Jack van Poortvliet is again captaining the scrum half, and there are only two changes to the backline from the previous game, with both Baileys dropping out, Deago and Orlando. Deago is replaced on the right wing by Tom Litchfield, while Orlando is replaced by Charlie Atkinson, who could create fireworks in tandem with fly half rival Fin Smith for England.
The bench sees Archie Vanes, Freddie Thomas, Ollie Stonham, and Josh Gray all come in as forward options, while in the backline replacements Tom Carr-Smith and Tom Roebuck come in.
Round 1 Results:
England 38-22 France
Italy 8-25 Wales
Scotland 7-38 Ireland
Round 2 Results:
England 31-12 Scotland
Italy 11-13 France
Wales 12-40 Ireland