U20 World Trophy: Scotland score second century against Hong Kong China

Winger Finlay Doyle grabs hat-trick for second game running as hosts dominate again

Finlay Doyle
Finlay Doyle scores against Hong Kong China. Image: © Craig Watson. www.craigwatson.co.uk

Scotland U20 101

Hong Kong China U20 0

ALAN LORIMER @ Hive Stadium

SCOTLAND followed up their record-breaking score against Samoa with another massive points total against Hong Kong China in the second round of the World Rugby Under-20 Trophy.

But this second century of points, however impressive, will stand for nothing if the Scots cannot translate what should be sky-high confidence into a winning performance against Japan on Friday – a match which looks likely to decide the outcome of the tournament.

In all, Scotland ran in 15 tries, their points total boosted by the accurate goal kicking of stand-off Matthew Urwin, who had thirteen successes in a competent display of conversion attempts.

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Moreover, Urwin looked assured in the ten jersey and added to his credentials when he twice switched position in the back line after Andy McLean was brought off the bench to occupy the pivot role. Scotland made a number of changes in the second half, which may have affected continuity.

Coach Kenny Murray explained his decision to make these alterations, saying: “Jonny Morris got a hamstring. All the other [injuries] weren’t too bad.

“We’d made the decision to manage game time for the likes of Liam [McConnell] and Freddy [Douglas]. Four games in 15 days is a lot. So if you start with the same players you’ll just run them into the ground.”

If Scotland were able to hone their attacking skills against Hong Kong, then equally important for Murray was how his charges performed in defence.

He said: “The big thing for me was that we didn’t allow Hong Kong any points. Hong Kong scored three tries against Japan in round one.  I thought the boys showed some good defence today.

“When you’re winning by a big margin sometimes the easiest thing to do is to slip off the physicality, but I thought today the physicality was excellent. There was a couple of excellent sets in the second half.”

Scotland had made a number of changes to their side for the Hong Kong game. So which players took their chances? Murray was in no doubt that hooker and former Glenalmond College front-row Seb Stephen had impressed. “I thought Seb was a stand-out. His speed across the pitch and  his set piece. He’s still under-19,” Murray said.

Scotland were expected to be too strong for Hong Kong China and confirmed that view within two minutes of play with a try by Douglas from a line-out maul. Urwin converted and then added the extras to a try by winger Finlay Doyle after the fly-half had combined well with his old St Aloysius team-mate Johnny Ventisei to create the score.

Then when skipper McConnell spun out of a tackle and Urwin added the two points bonus the Scots were 21 points ahead in 18 minutes. That total quickly increased following a defence-splitting run and good finishing by back-row Morris.

Urwin made it four from four successes at goal and then continued his unbroken run of successes in front of the posts by adding the extras to a try from Hector Patterson from line-out possession.

Having moved the ball wide for much of the first half, Scotland then reverted to the maul, profiting for a second time in the game with a second try for Douglas. This time Urwin, attempting to convert from near the touchline, just failed to make it six from six after the ball rebounded off the near upright.

A second try for Doyle from a line-out move and Urwin’s conversion kept the scoreboard whirring. Then from the restart Stephen burst clear before sending Doyle in for his hat-trick score.

The Scots finished the first half reduced to 14 men after debutant Ludo Kolade was sent to the sin-bin for an early tackle but that barely took the shine off their 52 points interval advantage.

Despite being down a man Scotland were able to contiof nue with their try-scoring mission, Ventisei rounding off a sweeping move started in the Scots’ own 22m area, and the extras again supplied by Urwin.

Hong Kong were beginning to show signs attacking ability, and might have scored but for a timely tackle from Kerr Yule. Scotland then switched  from defence into scoring mode when Kolade, returning from his spell in the bin, intercepted, but what seemed a certain score was prevented by a skilful ankle tackle. The ball however was scooped up by Morris for the back row to claim his second try.

Urwin converted and then added the extras to tries from Jack Hocking and replacements Fergus Watson and Jerry Blyth-Lafferty. Then for a second time in the game Scotland were down to a crew of 14 after Dylan Cockburn limped off suffering from cramp, and with all the replacements already on, the Scots had to make do with a seven-man forward pack.

The numerical disadvantage slowed the scoring rate but did not stop the flow of points, Kolade finishing off some slick Scots handling with a try under the posts that left Urwin with an easy kick for his 12th conversion and a 94-0 lead.

With the century beckoning Scotland produced their final try, ignited by a strong run from Watson and finished by second-row replacement Ryan Burke, Urwin’s 13th success at goal bringing up the ton plus one.

Teams –

Scotland U20:  J Hocking; F Doyle (F Watson 48), J Ventisei (A McLean 53), K Yule, L Kolade; M Urwin, H Patterson (C McAlpine 53); R Deans (B White 40), S Stephen, C Norrie (O Blyth-Lafferty 53), D Cockburn, R Hart, L McConnell (captain, T Currie 40), F Douglas (J Blyth-Lafferty 40), J Morris.

Hong Kong China U20: K Lacey; M Rickard, M D’Acre, B Horberry, J Edan; B Elliot, C Cheung; M Koo, B Sheldon, M Crawford, T Highes, T Mag, M Conti, O Clarke (captain), D Hedley. Replacements: D Simons, L Molyneux, D Bennet, C FitzHenry, F Mahn, M Blair, L Bannon, J Kee.

Referee: Nicolae Fratila (Romania).

Scorers –

Scotland U20: Tries: Doyle (3), Douglas (2), McConnell, Morris (2), Patterson, Ventesei, Hocking, Watson, J Blyth-Lafferty, Kolade, Burke. Cons: Urwin (13).

Scoring sequence (Scotland U20 first): 5-0, 7-0, 12-0, 14-0, 19-0, 21-0. 26-0, 28-0, 33-0, 35-0, 40-0, 45-0, 47-0, 52-0 (ht) 57-0, 59-0, 64-0, 66-0, 71-0, 73-0, 78-0, 80-0, 85-0, 87-0, 92-0, 94-0, 99-0, 101-0

Yellow card: Scotland U20: Kolade (37).

Man-of-the-Match: It’s always good when a player is given a chance and then performs well. That was the case with Seb Stephen who impressed in the set-piece and who burnished his credential with a fine display around the pitch, winning several turnovers and showing good pace. And then, after replacing Freddy Douglas, he further impressed as a makeshift flanker. And he’ll be available next year.

Talking point:  This was a second drubbing for Hong Kong, which begs the question: should a more stringent standard be set for entry into what, it must be remembered, is a world tournament? Hong Kong have huge problems and will have learned from the experience. Moreover they have some good players but the whole is considerably less than the sum of the parts. Over to you, World Rugby.

About Alan Lorimer 370 Articles
Scotland rugby correspondent for The Times for six years and subsequently contributed to Sunday Times, Daily and Sunday Telegraph, Scotsman, Herald, Scotland on Sunday, Sunday Herald and Reuters. Worked in Radio for BBC. Alan is Scottish rugby journalism's leading voice when it comes to youth and schools rugby.


  1. Never mind the ability, do they have any interest in solving it? Mis matches like these are unacceptable and dangerous.

    • Mismatches happen, it’s up to the losing side to decide if progress can be made or not. Italy were beaten 96-17 by the All Blacks last September, was that dangerous?

      • To be reasonable I think it is reasonable to suggest that there is a vast difference from a Senior side getting a drubbing compared to an U20/U18 team.
        Just a thought.

      • It’s age grade rugby and the Hong Kong lads were small even by u18 standards. Your attitude is precisely why so many parents don’t trust rugby to care about player welfare and send their kids to other sports/ pastimes. You may not have seen the fallout of player mismatches but sadly I have. This is a global tournament and world rugby have shown no regard to player development or safety here. There are good reasons that the class action is gaining so much momentum!

  2. As many others commented on the Samoan fixture, you can only play what is in front of you, and I am sure the players and coaches will be well aware of the fact that Japan will be a different kettle of Fish.
    We wish the lads well.
    On your last point Mr. Lorimer, World Rugby have done more to ruin a fabulous Sport that once was for all skills and sizes with changes to laws that have caused more problems for than they solved, are you sure that they will have the ability to find a solution, I’m not holding my breath.

  3. Boys did what they had to do – they know Japan is the only game that counts, and how. That said, a season of physical batterings for a lot of them with the Futures has undoubtedly toughened them up – they’re definitely street wise now.

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