JUNIOR WORLD CUP: FAGERSON, RITCHIE AND KINGHORN TO MISS PLAY-OFF

07/06/16 AJ Bell Stadium - Manchester World Rugby U20 Championship Scotland U20 v Australia U20 Scotlands Zander Fagerson Photo credit should read: ©Craig Watson Craig Watson, craigwatsonpix@icloud.com 07479748060 craigwatsonphotography@hotmail.com www.craigwatson.co.uk

THE Scotland Under-20s team will be without their three most experienced players for tomorrow’s Junior World Cup seventh place play-off versus Wales at the Manchester City Academy Stadium [kick-off: 4.30pm]. Full Scotland cap Zander Fagerson has been rested, while Edinburgh regulars Blair Kinghorn and Jamie Ritchie are out with a leg injury and concussion respectively. Murray McCallum, who has been another hugely influential player for the squad during the last month, is also missing with an elbow problem.

The loss of these key men comes on top of an already lengthy injury list which includes livewire winger Darcy Graham, Northampton Saints starlet Rory Hutchinson, Newcastle Falcons bound second-row Andrew Davidson, rambunctious flanker Matt Smith and stalwart hooker Jake Kerr.

That leaves skipper Scott Cummings and stand-off Adam Hastings as the only two players with experience of playing professional rugby in the match-day squad. Cummings has started in five and come off the bench in four games for Glasgow Warriors this season, while Hastings has featured twice for Bath in the Aviva Premiership.

A victory for Scotland this afternoon will clinch their highest ever ranking in this tournament, while a defeat would mean that they equal last year’s high water mark eighth place finish.

Cummings and centre Tom Galbraith are now the only two players in the side to have started all five matches in the tournament. At the other end of the spectrum, Ruairi Howarth will be making his first appearance in the competition at full-back, while Stephen Ainslie, Adam Nicol and Lewis Berg will hope to get a run-out off the bench after being called up to the squad as injury cover mid-tournament.

Charlie Shiel gets the nod at scrum-half in place of Hugh Fraser who has started all four previous games.

“This is huge match for us as seventh place, a highest ever finish for Scotland under-20, is up for grabs. We know what Wales bring to the table, especially in terms of their physicality, but we have a tight-group who will front-up to the challenge ahead,” said Dalziel.

“We’re giving players who have been making an impact off the bench a chance to start and hopefully they’ll grasp the opportunity with both hands. These players have grown throughout the tournament, so we’re hoping they can build on that experience and take it into tomorrow’s clash.

“With this group we talk about filling the shirt, and big games like tomorrow is where we need boys to step up and show their pride in wearing the jersey.”

A depleted Wales team were hammered 71-12 in their last outing, but they have made six changes to their starting fifteen so should be fresher this time out – although they will be without captain Adam Beard, who is serving a nine week ban for a gouging incident against Ireland earlier in the tournament.

 

Team –

15. Ruairi Howarth (Gala)

14. Robbie Nairn (Harlequins)

13. Tom Galbraith (Melrose)

12. Matt McPhillips (Currie)

11. Cameron Gray (Currie)

10. Adam Hastings (Bath Rugby)

9. Charlie Shiel (Currie)

  1. George Thornton (Bishop Burton College)
  2. Lewis Anderson (Ayr)
  3. Callum Sheldon (Leeds Beckett University)
  4. Callum Hunter-Hill (Stirling County)
  5. Scott Cummings CAPTAIN (Glasgow Warriors)
  6. Alex Craig (Hartpury College)
  7. Lewis Wynne (Stirling County
  8. Ally Miller (Melrose)

 

Substitutes

  1. Fraser Renwick (Hawick)
  2. Dan Elkington (Melrose)
  3. Adam Nicol (Stirling County)
  4. Stephen Ainslie (Currie)
  5. Scott Burnside (Boroughmuir)
  6. Hugh Fraser (Heriot’s)
  7. Lewis Berg (George Watson’s College)

 

 

 

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About David Barnes 3187 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.