HERIOT’S back-row Martin Hughes has come straight into the Scotland Under-20 starting team to play against England at Myreside on Friday night having not been involved in either of their first two matches in this Six Nations campaign, in place of the injured Archie Erskine.
The other change to the team which started against France just under two weeks ago is in the back-line, where Rory McMichael of Glasgow Hawks is promoted from the bench to start on the wing, swapping with Stirling County’s Logan Trotter.
Northampton Saints senior academy member Fraser Strachan, who represented Scotland then England at Under-18 level, has returned to the thistle and is named amongst the replacements – having not been part of the original training squad for this championship.
Second-row Marshall Sykes, another Northampton Saints academy member, who played for Scotland Under-18 last spring, has also joined the squad.
Sam Yawayawa [Glasgow Hawks] and Harry Butler [Hartpury College] make way for the Northampton Saints duo.
Hooker and captain Robbie Smith has trained with Glasgow Warriors this week as emergency cover after James Malcolm was called up to the senior Scotland squad, but the Ayr player is not going to be required by the pro team at the weekend so will be able to resume in the number two jersey for the age-grade side.
The young Scots face a huge challenge against England, but head coach Stevie Scott believes he has seen incremental improvements from the side during their defeats to Wales and France in recent weeks, and has called on the players to take another step forward this week.
“Against France, our set-piece tightened up a lot, because we struggled with that in our first match against Wales. Our mauls are a positive; that’s definitely a strength for us. We’ve looked really dangerous from the maul and managed to cause France some problems with that,” he said.
Scotland U20 team to face England U20 at Myreside in the U20 Six Nations this Friday 23 February (kick-off 7.30pm) –
15. Paddy Dewhirst (Ayr)
14. Rory McMichael (Glasgow Hawks)
13. Stafford McDowall (Ayr) VICE CAPTAIN
12. Callum McLelland (Edinburgh Rugby)
11. Kyle Rowe (Glasgow Hawks)
10. Ross Thompson (Glasgow Hawks)
9. Charlie Chapman (Gloucester)
1. Shaun Gunn (Edinburgh Accies)
2. Robbie Smith (Ayr) CAPTAIN
3. Finlay Richardson (Edinburgh Accies)
4. Ewan Johnson (Racing 92)
5. Jamie Hodgson (Watsonains)
6. Martin Hughes (Heriots)
7. Guy Graham (Hawick)
8. Devante Onojaife (Northampton Saints)
16. Bradley Clements (Ealing)
17. Nathan McBeth (Lions)
18. Murphy Walker (Strathallan School)
19. Marshall Sykes (St Joseph’s College / Northampton Saints)
2o. Rory Darge (Melrose)
21. Kaleem Barreto (Marr)
22. Fraser Strachan (Northampton Saints)
23. Logan Trotter (Stirling County)