Two changes made as under-20 squad target third consecutive victory

Head Coach Sean Lineen has made two changes to the Scotland under-20 side that defeated Italy (45-0), for this Friday's match against England at the Nothern Echo Arena (kick-off 5.30pm).

Sam James will make his first start for Scotland under-20 this season

Hooker Sam James, takes the place of Ross Graham, joining Zander Fagerson and Murray McCallum – both try-scorers in Scotland’s 36-34 defeat of Wales – in the front-row.

Ben Robbins, who scored one of the team’s seven tries against Italy in round three, makes his first start for Scotland under-20 in replacing Ruaraidh Smith on the right wing.

Lineen said:

“We haven’t made any changes to last round’s match-day 23, as we are beginning to find a nice balance and gel as a group.

“Our set-piece was excellent in our two previous matches, so consistency in selection will only help this aspect of the game as we come up against a very powerful English front-eight.  

“The effort from the players in this competition has been encouraging. They’re a brave group who show a lot of commitment to the team and the badge when out on the field.”

The rest of the starting XV remains as the previous round, with Andrew Davidson and Lewis Carmichael packing down in the boiler room.

Captain Jamie Ritchie, who recorded an impressive hat-trick against Italy, continues at openside, and is joined by his Edinburgh Rugby colleague Magnus Bradbury and Neil Irvine-Hess.

The competition’s joint top-point scorer, with 38 points to his name, George Horne, starts at scrum-half with Rory Hutchinson playing outside him in the number ten jersey.

Patrick Kelly and Archie Russell make their fourth appearance as a starting centre partnership with Alec Coombes and Ruairi Howarth, both try scorers a fortnight ago, completing the sequence at wing and full-back respectively.

Scotland under-20 currently sit fourth behind England, France and Ireland on points difference alone, with all top-four sides recording two wins and one loss.

Lineen continued:  “We are now in a position to have a real crack, to be consistent in what we do and really challenge our rugby ability against the best.

“To be competitive against England, we all need to bring our A game and play for the full 80 minutes.

“It will be a tremendous experience for the players and one they are looking forward to.”

The game will be shown live on Sky Sports 3 (5pm) as part of a double-header, prior to Scotland Women’s clash against England.

Scotland under-20 v England under-20, Six Nations Championship, Northern Echo Arena, Darlington (kick-off 5.30pm) – live on Sky Sports 3 (5pm).

15 Ruairi Howarth (Edinburgh Rugby/Gala)

14 Ben Robbins (Edinburgh Rugby/Watsonians)

13 Archie Russell (Stirling County)

12 Patrick Kelly (Le Parc)

11 Alec Coombes (London Scottish)

 

10 Rory Hutchinson (Northampton Saints)

9 George Horne (Glasgow Hawks)

 

1 Murray McCallum (Aberdeen Grammar Rugby)*

2 Sam James (Wasps)

3 Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors/Glasgow Hawks)

4 Andrew Davidson (Glasgow Warriors/Glasgow Hawks)

5 Lewis Carmichael (Melrose)*

6 Neil Irvine-Hess (Melrose)

7 Jamie Ritchie CAPTAIN (Edinburgh Rugby)

8 Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh Rugby/Boroughmuir)

 

Replacements

16 Ross Graham (Hawick)

17 Dan Elkington (Watsonians)

18 Jack Owlett (Exeter Chiefs/ Exeter University)

19 Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors/Glasgow Hawks)

20 Ally Miller (Edinburgh Rugby/Watsonians)

21 Ben Vellacott (Gloucester/Hartpury College)

22 Tom Galbraith (Melrose)

23 Ruaraidh Smith (Currie)

 

*sportscotland institute of sport supported player 2014/15