SCOTLAND Under-20s will hope to channel the spirit of their predecessors from 2020 when they take on Wales in the final match of a tough Six Nations campaign at Cardiff Arms Park tomorrow evening [8pm kick-off].
The young thistles swept to a breathtaking 52-17 victory in one of the last matches played in the UK before lockdown arrived almost 16 months ago, and several members of that squad have now gone on to break into the professional game.
Meanwhile, replacement prop George Breese and stand-off Cammy Scott are the only two Scots survivors from 2020 (they were both on the bench that day), and with several of the more experienced members of the current squad missing this tournament through injury it has been a tough campaign so far featuring four heavy defeats.
Any sort of positive result against second bottom of the table Wales – who have lost three on the bounce since their opening weekend victory over Italy – would provide a huge confidence boost, and head coach Sean Lineen believes that his team have it in them to finish the campaign in style.
“There were good periods of play [against France] last week, with our physicality showing through with three tries from our forwards,” he said.
“Everyone in the 32-man squad has now had an opportunity to show what they can do on the pitch; it’s made selection for the final game of the tournament hugely challenging as this young squad shows huge potential at times.
“This team has displayed huge amounts of passion and spirit in all but one game during the Six Nations Championship. It’s been a long month down here in Cardiff with games coming thick and fast, tomorrow will be a big ask for them to pull together for one last game but the team are up for the task and will look to finish on a high with a good performance against Wales.”
Alex Samuel will captain the side from the second row once again, where he will be partnered by Euan Ferrie.
In the front-row, Corey Bowker retains his starting position at tighthead with Michael Jones at loosehead. Patrick Harrison, who scored two tries against France last week, continues at hooker.
It’s a freshened up back-row with Harri Morris returning from suspension at open-side, Ollie Leatherbarrow starting at blindside and Ben Muncaster at No 8.
Murray Redpath and Scott team up once again at half-back, with Mike Gray and Scott King combing in the centre, while Ollie Melville moves to the wing in a back-three which also contains Finlay Callaghan and Alex Clayton.
Scotland U20s (v Wales at Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff, Tuesday @ 8pm): Alex Clayton (Bath University); Finlay Callaghan (Ayrshire Bulls/Glasgow Warriors), Scott King (Heriot’s Rugby/Edinburgh Rugby), Michael Gray (Boroughmuir Bears/Glasgow Warriors), Ollie Melville (Boroughmuir Bears/Glasgow Warriors); Cameron Scott (Southern Knights/Edinburgh Rugby), Murray Redpath (Newcastle University); Michael Jones (Boroughmuir Bears), Patrick Harrison (Southern Knights / Edinburgh Rugby), Corey Bowker (Leeds Becket University), Euan Ferrie (Glasgow Hawks), Alex Samuel (Stirling County/Glasgow Warriors) CAPTAIN, Ollie Leatherbarrow (Exeter University), Harri Morris (Southern Knights), Ben Muncaster (Watsonians Rugby/Edinburgh Rugby).
Replacements: Jamie Drummond (Ayrshire Bulls), Cole Lamberton (Watsonians Rugby / Edinburgh Rugby), George Breese (Stirling Wolves), Max Williamson* (Stirling County/Glasgow Warriors), Rhys Tait (Southern Knights), Rory Jackson (Ayrshire Bulls/Glasgow Warriors), Euan Cunningham (Stirling County / Glasgow Warriors), Christian Townsend (Ayrshire Bulls), Elliot Gourlay (Sale Sharks), Thomas Glendinning (Glasgow Hawks), Adam Scott (GHA).