U20s 6N: selection continuity key as Scotland target English scalp against the odds

Head coach Kenny Murray makes two injury-related changes to starting XV

Jerry Blyth-Lafferty comes in at hooker in place of the injured Elliot Young. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Jerry Blyth-Lafferty comes in at hooker in place of the injured Elliot Young. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

SCOTLAND UNDER-20s head coach Kenny Murray has made two changes to his pack ahead of Friday night’s clash against England at the Hive Stadium, with Jerry Blyth-Lafferty coming in at hooker for the injured Elliot Young, and fit again Euan McVie returning in the second-row in place of Theo Currie.

Vice-captain Ruaraidh Hart will partner McVie in the boiler room, a week after making his professional debut for Glasgow Warriors against Dragons.

The starting backline is the same as the one selected for the 29-14 loss to France last time out.

“I might have a little run-out for Hawick next season and see how that goes,” says Stuart Hogg

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Gavin Parry from Pontypridd comes in as hooker replacement on the bench, with Tom Currie returning to the squad after his injury against Wales in round one, with Callum Smyth, Ryan Whitefield and Ryan Burke the other forwards replacements.

Having reverted to a five-three split on the bench, Eric Davey returns as scrum-half cover and Johnny Ventisei will look to make his first appearance of the campaign as an outside-backs replacement.

“After the first fallow week, the team are ready to get going again,” said Murray. “We came back fighting in the second half against France two weeks ago, but we must play that way consistently if we want to be on the right side of the result against England, who will no doubt bring a very physical performance.

“We are excited to get back out in front of a home crowd for our final home game of the tournament.”

Scotland U20s (versus England U20s at Hive Stadium on Friday 7.15pm): F Watson (Glasgow Warriors); K Johnston (Glasgow Warriors), G Gwynn (Ealing Trailfinders/Brunel University), K Yule (Glasgow Warriors), A Caqusau (Glasgow Warriors); I Coates (Edinburgh), M Lock (Bath/Bath Uni); R Deans (Edinburgh), J Blyth-Lafferty (Edinburgh), C  Norrie (Glasgow Warriors), E McVie (Edinburgh), R Hart (Glasgow Warriors), L McConnell (Edinburgh, captain), F Douglas (Edinburgh), J Morris (Glasgow Warriors). Replacements: G Parry (Pontypridd), C Smyth (Glasgow Warriors), R Whitefield (Biggar), R Burke (Glasgow Warriors), T Currie (Edinburgh), E Davey (Stirling Wolves), J Hocking (Edinburgh), J  Ventisei (Glasgow Warriors).

Colin Campbell Sport/Macron Hub Edinburgh has offered four complimentary tickets to the Six Nations U20s clash between Scotland and England at Hive Stadium in Edinburgh on Friday night. All you need to do is correct answer the following question – Who is head coach of the 2024 Scotland Under-20s team?

Please email your answer to: commercial@theoffsideline.com

“I might have a little run-out for Hawick next season and see how that goes,” says Stuart Hogg

About David Barnes 3891 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. “Continuity”? It’s reasonable to think that’s a valid strategy in a winning squad, unfortunately the statistics suggest it isn’t. Kenny Murray’s bluster continues unabated.
    I see Scotia and I are aligned again, the oft quoted definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. – sprung to my mind as well.
    Anyway, all the best to the boys playing, for your sakes, I hope you get a good result.

    • I’d like an explanation from Mr Murray of how he can be there in person to see an 18 year old back pick up a Man of the Match award in a Prem game, yet make the decision to not even call him in to have a look at him in training?

      Are we so blessed with talent that we don’t need to explore all options, or is it simply a closed shop for the favoured few?

      • Does the lad have a pathway contract? I suspect Murray is obliged to stick to contracted pathway players, which relies on the u16-18 selection process being spot on… Seems those Scottish players outside of the pathway are overlooked and eyes are only on SQ lads playing in England

      • @Jim. No the lad doesn’t have a pathways contract. Had a situation where the head coach of the u20’s came to watch a few of his squad in action, but in the end another lad that wasn’t in his squad deservedly got the Man of the Match award (also finished the season as his club’s top try scorer). Expectations all round that something would come of it, but nothing did.

        There are others out there that have been similarly overlooked, as they stick with the boys that were selected aged 15/16. It’s just wrong.

      • A sad indictment of the current system. No doubt someone somewhere within the echelons of the SRU has told Murray that he should try to avoid selecting Scottish prem/ Nat players who aren’t in the pathway. After all, that would be an admission that the pathway isn’t doing its job properly, and the SRU can’t cope with anyone criticising their regime.
        The new structure diagram released last week appears to suggest that Scottish players from outside the pathway can go straight into the 18s and 20s but, come on, does anyone actually believe that’s going to happen? Believe it when I see it

    • Continuity indeed. Terrible first half performance and game gone by halftime – same as the game against France.

      A better second half again, but not sure how much you can take from it when the game is lost already.

  2. Feel very sorry for all that have been working so hard and aren’t getting a chance to show what they can do. You can’t argue with ‘Same again’ when a team is being successful, but the results since Kenny Murray took charge don’t remotely justify that. It’s hard to imagine that morale in the wider squad can be anything but poor.

  3. The game changed completely when Patterson came on, the coach must have been wearing blinkers if he didn’t see that,
    or he should try spec savers.

    • It really does exist. I now have 4 comp tickets for tomorrow night’s game courtesy of TOL. Looking forward to it.

  4. i hope murray knows what he is doing as patterson was a stand out
    stunned to see him not even on bench

  5. Stunned. Continuity? Keeping a losing starting XV together no matter what!?

    Being blunt, only two of the backs have impressed me at all, not just in this 6 Nations campaign, but throughout last season too.

    What happens if they get the Wooden Spoon? Just stick with the same group of players for the World Trophy in the summer?

    A famous Einstein quote about insanity springs to mind.

  6. No Patterson at Scrum Half .why?
    Different gravy when he came on last game .
    What’s Murray playing at .
    He seems to have his favorites regardless of results


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