Junior World Trophy: five personnel changes for Scots ahead of USA clash

Geordie Gwynn and Jerry Blyth-Lafferty missing through injury

Robbie Deans has been added to the Scotland Under-20s team to take on USA on Thursday at loose-head prop. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Robbie Deans has been added to the Scotland Under-20s team to take on USA on Thursday at loose-head prop. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

SCOTLAND Under-20s head coach Kenny Murray has made five personnel changes and one positional alteration to the starting XV he sent out against Zimbabwe on Saturday ahead of Thursday’s Junior World Trophy clash against the USA in Kenya [kick-off 12noon BST].

Two of the changes are enforced with winger Geordie Gwynn (who scored a hat-trick against Zimbabwe) and hooker Jerry Blyth-Lafferty out through injury.

“Geordie got a bang on the face and Jerry got his thumb caught when a scrum went down,” explained Murray. “We’re just monitoring them at the moment. They’re not fit to play on Thursday, and we’ll make a decision on whether they’ll be able to stay [in the squad for the remainder of the tournament] over the next day or so. They’ve had scans and so on, so we’re just assessing them now, and we’ll see how they are over the next 24 hours.”

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Logan Jarvie has been brought in on the right wing with Finn Douglas moving across to Gwynn’s spot on the left, while Corey Tait steps up from the bench to start at hooker.

Elsewhere, Robbie Deans swaps in for Craig Davidson at loose-head prop, meaning tight-head Callum Norrie is the only surviving starter in the front-row. The second-row in unchanged while Jonny Morris replaced Sam Derrick – who moves to the bench – at No 8.

Behind the scrum, Findlay Thomson replaces the benched Kerr Yule at inside-centre.

After seeing has team run out comfortable 64-33 winners against Zimbabwe, Murray says his players must be ready for a more structured game-plan from Thursday’s opponents (who lost 33-31 in their opening game against Uruguay).

“They are a pretty physical side, they want to be aggressive in both attack and defence, and they have a really strong centre partnership with two really good ball-carriers with great footwork, so we are going to have to be ready for that,” he said. “Their set-piece is pretty good, their line-out in particular, so we’ve identified some opportunities and patterns they like to run.

“It is going to be a different game from Zimbabwe. They probably don’t have the same running threats but definitely are a much better organised team than Zimbabwe, so it’s going to be a tough game.”

With more civil unrest on the streets of Nairobi expected tomorrow, the team’s captain’s run has been moved to nearby school, but Murray insisted that there has been no meaningful disruption in the preparation for this match, unlike the build-up to the Zimbabwe game when the squad were confined to their hotel at the start of the week.

“There’s a mall about 10-minutes’ drive away so we went there this morning for a coffee, which was good,” he revealed. “That first week when we were stuck in the hotel was a bit frustrating, but this week it’s had no real impact.

“There’s a change in venue in terms of the captain’s run, but that’s not going to change anything. We feel really well prepared, we’ve done a lot of reviewing over the last couple of days, we had a good jog through yesterday as units and as a whole team, and we’ve got a session this afternoon, so we’ve got through absolutely everything we’ve wanted to do this week and we feel we’re in a good place.”


Scotland U20s (v USA at Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi, Kenya, on Thursday @ 12noon BST): D King; L Jarvie, B Salmon, F Thomson, F Douglas; A McLean, B Afshar (co-captain); R Deans, C Tait, C Norrie, E Erskine, J Parkinson, L McConnell (co-captain), J Smith, J Morris. Substitutes: F Duraj, C Davidson, O Minnis, R Hart, S Derrick, H Patterson, K Yule, M Reid.

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About David Barnes 4026 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The 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.