After defeat in Wales in their second game of the RBS 6 Nations championship, Scotland under-20 head coach, Peter Wright, has kept faith with his front eight alongside two enforced changes to the back line for the clash with France under-20 at Netherdale on Friday 24 February (KO 7.30pm).
Centre Tommaso Allan has been recalled to his club, Western Province, with Scott Steele, who has started the last two games at scrum-half, recalled to Leicester Tigers.
Despite losing out 28-15 at Parc Eirias, Colwyn Bay, Wright was encouraged by the second half performance against a bigger, more experienced Welsh side.
Wright said: “What we’ve got to do is get a bit more accurate especially around the contact areas and tackles. We made 94% of tackles against Wales but in that 6% we missed, we conceded two tries.
“Both Tommy and Scott getting recalled to their clubs means Finn Russell comes in at 12 and Matty Torrance starts at scrum-half. Finn is probably more of a 10 but bringing him in for Tommy means it’s a bit more like for like and I’m excited to see what he can do at inside-centre from the start.
"Scott Steele has gone back to Leicester, a good opportunity for him to experience the Premiership set up, but Matt brings in some pace and his delivery is quick and accurate.”
Edinburgh Rugby’s front row Robin Hislop has also been recalled for the weekend but Wright can call on the quality and experience of Murray McConnell from the bench, the scrum-half having been released by his club, Glasgow Warriors, for the international weekend.
The under-20 teams visit Netherdale on Friday, a venue that has already played host to a big crowd for Scotland A this month and Wright hopes for similar support.
“The crowds have been really good there and it’s great for the boys to play somewhere which, of course, has a great rugby tradition but also is a pitch of real quality. Hopefully we’ll get a similar crowd to cheer us on on Friday.
“The French are a big physical side, very similar to the Welsh, but we have to not worry about that and stick to our game plan. The guys are looking forward to the challenge.”
Scotland under-20 to play France under-20 at Netherdale, Gala on Friday 24 February (KO 7.30pm – ENTRY TO THE GAME IS FREE)
15. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Scotland 7s/Heriot’s)
14. Jamie Farndale (Edinburgh Rugby/Edinburgh Accies)
13. Robbie Fergusson (Ayr)
12. Finn Russell (Falkirk)
11. Michael Crawley (Boroughmuir)
10. Harry Leonard (Edinburgh Rugby) (capt.)
9. Matt Torrance (Ospreys)
1.Jamie Bhatti (Stirling County)
2.George Turner (Edinburgh Rugby/Stewart’s Melville)
3.Alex Allan (Loughborough Students)
4.Adam Sinclair (Stirling County)
5.Jonny Gray (Hamilton)
6.Mitch Eadie (Bristol Rugby)
7.Will Bordill (Sale Sharks)
8.Jamie Swanson (Boroughmuir)
16.Fergus Scott (Currie)
17.Gavin Robertson (Dundee HSFP)
18.Callum Maguire (Berwick)
19.Andrew Redmayne (Dundee HSFP)
20.Callum Reid (Edinburgh Accies)
21.Murray McConnell (Glasgow Warriors/Ayr)
22. Jack Bradford (Nottingham)
23.Tom Steven (Glasgow Hawks)
Scotland Under-20 RBS 6 Nations fixtures are as below, with free entry to home matches.
Friday 24 February, Scotland under-20 v France under-20, Netherdale, kick-off 7.30pm
Friday 9 March, Ireland under-20 v Scotland under-20, Dubarry Park, kick-off 7.05pm
Friday 16 March, Italy under-20 v Scotland under-20, Calvisano, Brescia, kick-off 6pm