Scotland under-20 head coach Sean Lineen today named the team to face Argentina in the nation’s opening IRB Junior World Championship (JWC) match at the Stade Pascal Laporte in Nantes tomorrow (Wednesday 5 June, kick-off 8pm local time).
The former internationalist and Grand Slam winner took the helm of the side at the start of the season, with improvements in the nation’s performances a big feature of the 2013 6 Nations campaign.
With the flagship age-grade tournament a day away he commended the work-rate and intensity of his young charges as they aim to build on the steps taken in a tough Pool with Wales (2013 6 Nations runners-up on points difference), Argentina and Samoa.
He said: “Training has been good. The boys have been working exceptionally hard and they needed to because tomorrow’s game will be a massive challenge.
“Argentina are immensely physical, have a quality set-piece and run hard, which we’ll need to be ready for and combat.”
Lineen has named just three changes to the side that started the final 6 Nations match against France in March: last season’s JWC top try-scorer Jamie Farndale returns to his familiar wing spot, Scott Steele starts at scrum-half and Chris Auld partners Glasgow Warriors’ Mark Bennett in midfield, meaning Jonny Gray captains the team in an unchanged pack.
Lineen added: “You look at the players and can see that it’s a very exciting group so it’s up to us to provide an environment for them to flourish and develop.
“But it’s not a tour, this is World Cup. It’s great to be here for three weeks, and it’s great for the players and their development, but we’re here to win games. That’s what this is about.
“Their work ethic has been outstanding, I couldn’t have asked for more from anyone on that front. It is now about our accuracy and decision-makingunder pressure.”
Scotland under-20 team to play Argentina in round one of the IRB Junior World Championships (Pool C) at the Stade Pascal Laporte, Nantes (kick-off 8pm)
15 Ruaridh Young (Edinburgh Accies)
14 Jamie Farndale (Edinburgh Rugby/Edinburgh Accies)
13 Chris Auld (Edinburgh Rugby/Gala)
12 Mark Bennett (Glasgow Warriors/Stirling County)
11 Rory Hughes (Scotland 7s/Stirling County)
10 Tommy Allan (Perpignan)
9 Scott Steele (Leicester Tigers)
1 Jamie Bhatti (Stirling County) *
2 Russell Anderson (Gala) *
3 D’Arcy Rae (Ayr) *
4 Adam Sinclair (Perpignan)
5 Jonny Gray CAPTAIN (Glasgow Warriors/Currie)
6 Tommy Spinks (London Scottish)
7 Will Bordill (Sale Sharks)
8 Adam Ashe (Glasgow Warriors/Stirling County)
16 Reyner Kennedy (Stirling County)
17 Robby Wilson (Boroughmuir) *
18 Phil Cringle (Edinburgh Rugby/Stewart’s Melville FP)
19 Ruaridh Leishman (Stirling County)
20 Eoghan Masterson (Leinster)
21 Ali Price (Bedford Blues)
22 Robbie Fergusson (Ayr)
23 Damien Hoyland (Boroughmuir)
* = supported by sportscotland Institute of Sport
Scotland under-20’s matches:
Scotland U20 v Argentina U20, Wednesday 5 June, Stade Pascal Laporte, Nantes, KO 8pm local time
Scotland U20 v Wales U20, Sunday 9 June, Stade Pascal Laporte, Nantes, KO 5pm local time
Scotland U20 v Samoa U20, Thursday 13 June, Stade Pascal Laporte, Nantes, KO 7pm local time
Scotland’s two subsequent opponents will depend on how they fare in the above matches.