Scotland U20 team confirmed for Italy encounter

Scotland U20 team confirmed for Italy encounter

After the second scheduled fallow week, head coach Kenny Murray has introduced four new players into the Scotland U20 match day 23 to face Italy U20 at Stadio Comunale di Monigo, Treviso on Friday (kick off 7.15pm GMT, live on BBC iPlayer).

Findlay Thomson and Finlay Doyle will make their first appearances this tournament when they are brought in to start at inside centre and right wing respectively. Thomson – of Watsonian FC – has represented the thistle at this level before when he made his debut off the bench against Zimbabwe in last year’s World Rugby U20 Trophy. This game will be Doyle’s (Loughborough University) first appearance in a Scotland U20 jersey.

On the bench Newcastle Falcons/Newcastle University’s Luke Coulston will look to make his debut for the Scottish age-grade side alongside Matthew Urwin who is one of the current FOSROC contracted academy players at Glasgow Warriors. Urwin also made eight appearances for the FOSROC Future XV side during last year’s FOSROC Super Series Championship.

Squad rotation sees tournament regulars Amena Caqusau, Kerr Johnston and Kerr Yule rested, and an injury sustained during the last match against England means captain Liam McConnell has to sit out this week. Ruaraidh Hart and Geordie Gwynn will join forces as co-captains in McConnell’s place.

The front row remains unchanged for the second consecutive game with props Robbie Deans and Callum Norrie starting alongside Jerry Blyth-Lafferty at hooker.

Euan McVie and Ryan Burke (who will make his first start this tournament) take charge of the second row, with Ruaraidh Hart moving to blindside flanker in place of injured McConnell. Freddy Douglas, who continues to top the Under-20 Six Nations Breakdown Steals table with eight turnovers over the past three games, retains the openside flanker jersey with Tom Currie continuing in the Number 8 spot.

After missing out on England week due to a hand injury, Hector Patterson will get his first start of the tournament when he starts at scrum half, joining Isaac Coates who stays at stand off.

Versatile Fergus Watson moves from full-back to left wing, making way for Jack Hocking to get his first start of the campaign in the number 15 jersey. Geordie Gwynn continues in the centre position after scoring his first try of the campaign against England.

The bench sees a 5/3 split with Gavin Parry, Callum Smyth, Ryan Whitefield and Jonny Morris join Coulston to cover the forwards and Murdoch Lock and Johnny Ventisei join Urwin to bolster the backs.

Head coach Kenny Murray said: “The team have had a good fallow week and are ready to get stuck in again for our final two Six Nations matches.

“Again, we had a strong second half performance against England, but didn’t manage to start strong like we set out to do.

“Italy’s recent win against France highlights how strong they are at u20 level and they will be looking to build on that win in front of a passionate home crowd. It’s important that we cut out the unforced errors this week.”

Scotland U20 team to face Italy U20 on Friday 8 March at Stadio Comunale di Monigo, Treviso (kick off 7.15pm GMT, live on BBC iPlayer)

15. Jack Hocking* (Edinburgh Rugby)

14. Finlay Doyle (Loughborough University)
13. Geordie Gwynn (Ealing Trailfinders/Brunel University) – Co-Captain
12. Findlay Thomson (Watsonian FC)
11. Fergus Watson* (Glasgow Warriors)

10. Isaac Coates* (Edinburgh Rugby)
9. Hector Patterson* (Edinburgh Rugby)

1. Robbie Deans* (Edinburgh Rugby)
2. Jerry Blyth-Lafferty* (Edinburgh Rugby)
3. Callum Norrie* (Glasgow Warriors)
4. Euan McVie* (Edinburgh Rugby)
5. Ryan Burke* (Glasgow Warriors)
6. Ruaraidh Hart* (Glasgow Warriors)
7. Freddy Douglas* (Edinburgh Rugby)
8. Tom Currie* (Edinburgh Rugby)


16. Gavin Parry (Pontypridd RFC)
17. Callum Smyth* (Glasgow Warriors)
18. Ryan Whitefield (Biggar RFC)
19. Luke Coulston (Newcastle Falcons/Newcastle University)
20. Jonny Morris* (Glasgow Warriors)
21. Murdoch Lock (Bath Rugby/Bath University)
22. Matthew Urwin* (Glasgow Warriors)
23. Johnny Ventisei* (Glasgow Warriors)

*FOSROC Scottish Rugby Contracted Academy Player

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