Round One in the U20 Six Nations didn’t disappoint. Wales replicated the form of their senior counterparts by comprehensively beating Scotland 36-3. England secured a 27-17 bonus point victory in difficult conditions against Italy, whilst France survived a second half comeback to beat Ireland 34-24.
Ahead of Round Two, all sides have made changes to their starting lineups. In effect, it highlights the level of depth available at age grade rugby. Competition for places continues to increase as the young talent pool grows alongside.
So as England host Wales, Italy head to Ireland and Scotland welcome France, here’s all you need to know about the squads ahead of Round Two, with coaches giving their thoughts to the media in the build up:
Six Changes for England Ahead of Wales Clash
Head coach Steve Bates has opted to make six changes, albeit some enforced, to the side that defeated Italy last week.
Your England U20 side to face Wales U20 this Friday ?
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) February 7, 2018
Cameron Redpath, not part of the original Elite Player Squad comes straight in to replace Will Butler at inside centre. Likewise, Ehren Painter and Aaron Hinckley are included in the replacements, with all three set to pick up their first caps at U20 level.
Loosehead prop Toby Trinder comes into the front row with lock Sam Lewis, back row Josh Basham and wing Jordan Olowofela making their first starts. Olowofela being the twin brother of Ryan, who made his England Sevens debut in Sydney recently.
Having made his debut against Italy, 19 year-old Ben White captains the side for the very first time.
Ben White has arrived into the U20 set up with a level of commitment to train and play positively. The way he performed against Italy was outstanding, he was brave, organised, committed and is a great choice for us as captain
Up and Coming Sevens Star Named in Welsh Squad
Wales have made seven changes to the starting fifteen ahead of their Round Two clash against England at Kingston Park on Friday night.
#WalesU20 have named their team for this Friday night’s trip to Newcastle to face England. Pob lwc i’r genhedlaeth nesaf!
— Welsh Rugby Union ? (@WelshRugbyUnion) February 7, 2018
Ospreys tighthead prop Rhys Henry comes in to the front row and club mate Morgan Morris starts in the back row in an otherwise unchanged pack.
Winger Rio Dyer and fullback Carwyn Penny will make their debuts at U20 level, as they join Ryan Conbeer in the back three.
Cai Evans moves to flyhalf from fullback to partner Harri Morgan. Ben Thomas moves into the inside centre position with Callum Carson shifting into the outside centre jersey.
Try-scoring Sevens star Tomi Lewis is added to the replacements where running rugby will be the order of the day on the synthetic pitch at Kingston Park.
Reshuffled Back Row Joins all-Leinster Irish Front Five
Ireland take on Italy at Donnybrook on Friday, having made four changes to the side that lost to France in Round One.
Head coach Noel McNamara has called up Sean Masterson and debutant Matthew Agnew in the back row.
Ireland’s front five remains unchanged, who all boast Leinster colours, as they look to pick up their first victory of the campaign.
Hugh O’Sullivan will make his first U20 start at scrum half, while Angus Curtis, promoted from the bench, combines with captain Tommy O’Brien in the centre.
France was a learning experience for all involved, and the challenge now is to build on what went right for us in Bordeaux while also looking to address the areas that could have been better
Scotland Looking to Test Themselves Against Strong French Side
Scotland fell to a formidable Wales side in Round One, leading Head Coach Stevie Scott to name four changes to the side he believes can overcome the French.
Scott has opted to leave his pack unaltered. The only changes in the starting lineup coming in the backline. Wingers Kyle Rowe and Logan Trotter, join Paddy Dewhirst who continues at fullback, in the back three.
Callum McLelland shifts from flyhalf to centre for Round Two, with Ross Thompson moving back in the playmaker role.
We made mistakes against Wales and there are things we need to work on ahead of this weekend. If we get these things fixed then we can go into the weekend with a bit of confidence again
— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) February 7, 2018
Piqueronies Rings the Changes for Trip to Donnybrook
Despite a good performance against the Irish last week, France have made seven changes to their lineup.
The partnership of Romain Ntamack and Arthur Coville remains, as Les Bleuets look to continue their attacking brand of rugby.
Prop Demba Bamba is promoted from the replacements bench following his try-scoring appearance against Ireland. In the back row Baptiste Heguy and Sacha Zegueur join number eight Maxence Lemardelet.
It’s a group that is working hard. The fact we are working with an extended group at the start of the week is helping bring quality so it’s very positive
Head coach Frédéric Piqueronies has opted to change his back three with Pierre Boudehent, Lucas Tauzin and Matthis Lebel coming in.
Adrien Seguret moves into the centre and partners Pierre-Louis Barassi who is one of three players unchanged from their opening round victory.
Italy Forced in to Making Replacements
Italy have been forced to make four changes, due to injury, following their home defeat to England last Friday night. Damiano Mazza and Alessandro Fusco will replace Francesco Modena and Alessandro Forcucci ahead of their tie with Ireland at Donnybrook.
Fusco will make up the replacements, while Michelangelo Biondelli moves from fullback to centre. Alberto Rossi takes over in the 15 jersey.
Italy showed against England that they are a side capable of grinding out a victory. Whether that is against Ireland will be a different matter. Ireland will be looking to set the record straight following their defeat in France.
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