PREVIEW: England U20s vs Scotland U20s
England and Scotland renew their rivalry on the opening weekend of the Under-20 Six Nations in an enticing head-to-head at Twickenham Stoop on Friday night.
Scotland travel south in search of revenge after going down 41-24 at the DAM Health Stadium in Edinburgh last year.
England ran in six tries, with Henry Arundell’s stunning solo score the pick of the bunch as Jamie Benson’s boot ensured the scoreboard kept ticking over.
Both teams will be looking to start their Championship with a win, as they look to better their third and sixth place finishes from last year.
England finished third 12 months ago, 14 points behind eventual Grand Slam champions Ireland, after winning two of their five matches, while Scotland failed to register a win last term.
A win in South West London on Friday would go a long way to both sides improving on last season’s efforts.
🏴 There will be new stars on show for @EnglandRugby this #U20SixNations ⭐️ pic.twitter.com/d4dkY25lPy— Six Nations Under-20s (@SixNationsU20) January 30, 2023
Gloucester’s Josh Hathaway and Saracens’ Tobias Elliott are both set for their first U20 starts on each wing, with Bath’s Sam Harris completing the back three.
Scotland have named Liam McConnell and Duncan Munn as co-captains as they look to get their Championship started with a win.
McConnell will be joined in the back row by Rudi Brown and Jonny Morris in the back row, while Kerr Yule will partner Munn at centre.
Max Surry, Corey Tait and Callum Norrie comprise the front row, with Ealing Trailfinders’ Jake Parkinson having a shorter trip than most to the Stoop at second row alongside Harris McLeod.
Ben Afshar and Richie Simpson will hope to utilise their Ayrshire Bulls link at half-back, with Amena Caqusau, William Robinson, and Dan King completing the back three
Matches are so often won and lost at the breakdown, and so all eyes will be on the battle of the back rows in Twickenham on Friday night.
England boast a trio containing plenty of Premiership experience, with Chandler Cunningham-South recently impressing for London Irish and Finn Carnduff appearing in the Premiership Rugby Cup for Leicester Tigers.
Greg Fisilau has had a dream start to life at Exeter Chiefs since joining in November, clocking six appearances for the Sandy Park side.
The flanker also has an Under-20 Six Nations campaign under his belt after being part of Dickens’ side last term and will hope that will count to his advantage as he goes head-to-head with opposite number Liam McConnell.
McConnell made his Scotland U20s bow in Italy during the Summer Series and impressed despite defeats for his side.
The Boroughmuir product is just 18 but has been handed armband duties alongside Duncan Munn, a reflection of the trust placed in him by Murray.
A maiden Under-20 Six Nations appearance beckons on Friday and his performance will likely be key to Scotland’s fortunes on enemy soil.