SCOTLAND UNDER-20S head coach Kenny Murray has made five changes, three of them enforced, to the starting XV he sent our against Uruguay on Tuesday ahead of Sunday’s Junior World Trophy 3rd/4th place play-off against Samoa on Sunday.
With back-rowers Jonny Morris and Jonny Smith out due to a shoulder injury and a dead-leg respectively, Selkirk’s Monroe Job will make his debut at this level on the openside flank while Sam Derrick is promoted from the bench to start at No 8. Meanwhile, Logan Jarvie also has a shoulder injury so Kerr Johnston starts on the wing.
The two selection changes are Callum Norrie swapping in for Oliver Minnis at tight-head prop and Jake Parkinson taking over from Eddie Erskine in the second-row.
Will Robinson from Caldy RFC, who flew in to Kenya as emergency injury cover last night, has been games on the bench.
“We have lost Jonny Morris and Jonny Smith so that’s two of our back rows out, Kerr Yule has still not recovered from a shoulder injury so he is not available and Hector Patterson has been ill for the last four days, so [we’ve had] some injury issues along the way. We are down to about 24 fit players at the moment so selection was pretty easy if I am being honest,” said Murray.
Scotland’s shock defeat to Uruguay cost them a place in the tournament final and therefore the chance to earn promotion back into the top-tier Junior World Championship next year. This has been a cause of a great consternation across the rugby landscape, and Murray revealed that he is concerned about how the media and public reaction impacts the players.
“It has been pretty tough, the first two days after the game were really tough,” he explained. “The biggest thing for young players these days is social media, they read social media and they are getting blasted on social media so we try to get them to stay off that sort of stuff and focus on rugby.
“It is difficult for us to control it because the articles that get written by media and the comments that get made are quite tough. At the end of the day, people are allowed to say what they want to say [even if] they don’t understand the context, but from our point of view we just have to make sure that the players are not listening and reading too much because we want them to focus on the task ahead of playing rugby.
“That is the world we live in unfortunately, boys lives are controlled a lot by social media and we just have to control that as much as we can.”
“We had a couple of days recovery because the bodies were a bit battered and bruised. We had three guys in the hospital getting scans the day after the game and those three guys are now out. But we had some good review meetings and then we have started our prep, a training day coming today and then back into it.
“We had a good team activity last night [playing the quiz show ‘Would I Lie to You?’] just to get the boys back on track and there were more smiles on the faces last night than I have seen in the last couple of days.”
Scotland U20s (v Samoa at Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi, Kenya, on Tuesday @ 10am BST): D King; K Johnston, B Salmon, F Thomson, F Douglas; A McLean, B Afshar (co-captain); C Davidson, C Tait, O Minnis, R Hart, J Parkinson, L McConnell (co-captain), M Job, S Derrick. Substitutes: F Duraj, R Deans, O Minnis, E Erskine, A Falconer, F Burgess, W Robinson, M Reid.