EDINBURGH No8 Ben Muncaster will take over captaincy of the Scotland Under-20s side for tomorrow [Friday] afternoon’s Six Nations round two clash against England in Cardiff, with Alex Samuel dropping to the bench through squad rotation.
In total, head coach Sean Lineen has made eight personnel and two positional changes to the side which lost the opening round match against Ireland last Saturday.
There are five changes in total in the pack, with Mike Jones and George Breese coming in as the props, Euan Ferrie taking over from Samuel in the second-row, and Rory Jackson and Ollie Leatherbarrow coming onto the flanks in place of Archie Smeaton (university exams) and Harri Morris (suspended).
There has also been some fairly extensive reshuffling behind the scrum, with Christian Townsend coming in to partner Murray Redpath at half-back, recreating the partnership that pair’s fathers had in the senior national team 20 odd years ago.
Last weekend’s stand-off, Cammy Scott, shifts out one place to form an all-new centre partnership with Scott King, while left-wing Mike Gray is the only back-three player to keep his place, with Ross McKnight coming in on the right wing and last week’s try scorer Elliot Gourlay moving from inside-centre to full-back.
“The team learned a lot from the game against Ireland last weekend,” said Lineen. “For some players that was their first taste of international rugby, as well as learnings there were a number of positives to take from the first-half performance.
“The squad have trained really well this week. Several players have put their hands up and moved into starting positions with others getting their first opportunity to be involved.
“We know England will look to play deep from their own half, which we are prepared for.”
There are a few familiar faces in the England side, including: Dan Lancaster – son of former England head coach Stuart and previously involved in the Scotland Under-18s programme – at inside centre; Fin Smith – grandson of Tom Elliot, a Scotland and Lions great of the 1950s – at stand-off; Lucas Brooke – son of All Blacks legend Zinzan – at open side flanker; and Phil Cokanasiga – younger brother of England and Bath winger Joe – on the bench.
Scotland U20s (v England at Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff, Saturday @ 2pm): Elliot Gourlay (Sale Sharks); Ross McKnight (Stirling County), Scott King (Heriot’s Rugby/Edinburgh Rugby), Cameron Scott (Southern Knights/Edinburgh Rugby), Michael Gray (Boroughmuir Bears/Glasgow Warriors); Christian Townsend (Ayrshire Bulls), Murray Redpath (Newcastle University); Michael Jones (Boroughmuir Bears), Patrick Harrison (Southern Knights/Edinburgh Rugby), George Breese (Stirling Wolves), Max Williamson (Stirling County/Glasgow Warriors), Euan Ferrie (Glasgow Hawks), Rory Jackson (Ayrshire Bulls/Glasgow Warriors), Ollie Leatherbarrow (Exeter University), Ben Muncaster (Watsonians Rugby/Edinburgh Rugby) ©.
Replacements: Jamie Drummond (Ayrshire Bulls), Tom Banatvala (Durham University), Olly Frostick (Ealing Trailfinders), Alex Samuel (Stirling County/Glasgow Warriors), Rhys Tait (Southern Knights), Euan Cunningham (Stirling County/Glasgow Warriors), Thomas Glendinning (Glasgow Hawks), Ollie Melville (Boroughmuir Bears/Glasgow Warriors), Adam Scott (GHA), Finlay Callaghan (Ayrshire Bulls/Glasgow Warriors), Alex Clayton (Bath University).
England: O Bailey; D Bailey, J Bates, D Lancaster A Relton; F Smith, J van Poortvliet ©; P Brantingham, S Riley, H Kindell-Beaton, E Richards, A Groves, E Ilione, L Brooke, J Clement (Gloucester Rugby)
Replacements: J Stewart, T Haffar, L Green, A Clark, H Taylor, N Merigan, R Quirke, T Mathews, P Cokanasiga, T Litchfield, C Atkinson.