Junior World Trophy: Kenny Murray shuffles Scotland Under-20s pack for final pool match

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Ruaraidh Hart will make his first start for Scotland Under-20s at the Junior World Trophy against Uruguay on Tuesday. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Ruaraidh Hart will make his first start for Scotland Under-20s at the Junior World Trophy against Uruguay on Tuesday. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

KENNY MURRAY has made three changes to his starting pack ahead of Scotland Under-20s’ final pool match against Uruguay at the Junior World Trophy in Kenya, with Craig Davidson and Oliver Minnis coming in at loose-head and tight-head prop respectively, while Ruaraidh Hart makes his first start of the tournament in the second-row.

The young Scots must win this game against the also unbeaten South Americans to book a place in Sunday’s final against either Spain or Samoa, with qualification into next year’s top tier Junior World Championship the bounty from winning the tournament.

With Kerr Yule nursing a shoulder knock, Murray has gone with an unchanged backline and stuck with a five-three split on the bench, which sees Finn Duraj, Max Surry, Callum Norrie, Jake Parkinson and Sam Derrick covering the forwards and Finlay Burgess, recent call-up Kerr Johnston and Matt Reid support the backs.

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“We’re just rotating it round a bit,” said Murray. “This is now our third game in 10 days so we have to freshen up where we can particularly in the front-row, it is tough work for the big men running round the park three games in a row so we have tried to move that around and give everyone a chance going into this third game and, touch wood, maybe a final as well.

“We always knew going into this third game was when we’d have to manage the guys, so we had a plan in place. We have done a lot of recovery, that has been a big focus. We have gone a bit lighter on training, we are training this [Sunday] afternoon, but just shortened things down a bit so we aren’t going too hard and we’ll just manage our captain’s run tomorrow as well to make sure we are ready to fire again on game day, but the boys are in a really good place.

“Uruguay are a very passionate team,” he added. “I went to watch them against USA and when they won that one you could see how much it meant to them. They are passionate and they bring that into their game. They are going to be very physical and they really embrace the forward challenge in the line-out and scrum. Then they have some pretty physical carriers around that sort of breakdown area, so we have to be sharp there.

“They have a really good nine, he likes to snipe around the breakdown so we have to make sure we are solid in our D, and they have a really good goal-kicking 10, so discipline will be really important for us in our own half.

“We took some key learnings from the first half of our game against USA which we not only put into place in the second half of that game, but we’ll take into our next game against Uruguay.


Scotland U20s (v Uruguay at Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi, Kenya, on Tuesday @ 2pm BST): D King; L Jarvie, B Salmon, F Thomson, F Douglas; A McLean, B Afshar (co-captain); C Davidson, C Tait, O Minnis, E Erskine, R Hart, L McConnell (co-captain), J Smith, J Morris. Substitutes: F Duraj, M Surry, C Norrie, J Parkinson, S Derrick, F Burgess, K Johnston, M Reid.

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About David Barnes 3956 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.


  1. FOSROC / Super 6 is not working. Replace it with an U20 league. When i first played club rugby on leaving school there was an unofficial colts league, every club had a colts team and the good ones moved into or played occasionally for the firsts. Edinburgh Wanderers and Kilmarnock Colts ruled the roost in my day, but clubs colts teams had a full season as every senior club had a colts team. Now / today, U20s in all clubs should have play / train in an area league, Lothians, Edinburgh, Borders, Glasgow, Midlands, North etc, national training days with that all leading to the national U20 side. Then obviously the good ones will get pro contracts . It’s a start, and they get to know each other’s abilities etc

  2. Nothing particularly positive to take from the tournament, the main ‘learning’ being that the whole set-up isn’t good enough. Handed a numerical advantage twice through yellow cards for Uruguay, promptly conceded tries on both occasions.

  3. Well this should be a massive wake up call to the SRU. We are facing a massive crisis at senior level in the near future.

  4. Some extremely inconsistent officiating of breakdown aside we lost this cause we finished AWFULY and did not look cohesive or independent of coaches on pitch. Micro managed?

    • They don’t look managed at all…..25% of the 80 we were up against 14 and finished 2 scores behind….. Uruguay. Having seen the u20 RWC proper we are miles off. Our players were cramping with 15 to go….so what fitness work are they doing in the academies?? If it’s not fitness work then it would presumably strength work…but it clearly isn’t as there’s no physicality at all. If it’s not that then is it skills??….it clearly isn’t because the fundamentals of passing catching set piece and contact area are nowhere near the tier 1 nations let alone Uruguay. What do the academies do? What’s Kenny (blame absolutely everyone else and never take responsibility) Murray doing with the players?? What has Mallinder been doing ? He not only hasn’t stopped the decline it’s accelerated on his watch. Prior to Super 6 we were on the up and managed 5th place in the RWC u20. Now we are the butt of every other nations jokes. Once the current batch of SA n English mercenaries retire we are going to be struggling to avoid relegation at senior level. Get used to this folks. Plenty of us have been saying that the structure under Dodson is unsustainable for years but his wee pals won’t hear a word of it. This is not just a warning this is the fulfilment of the Dodson mismanagement just starting to come to fruition. Lots more pain to come sadly and by that point the tourists will stop filling Murrayfield (the TV ads for the summer series rather suggest that we are hitting that point).

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