England U20s make nine changes for Scotland match

Captain Alex Gray drops to the bench

Fresh from battling to a 33-25 victory over Ireland on Friday, England head coach Rob Hunter has announced nine changes to the side that will face Scotland later today.

Owen Farrell, having played the entirety of his England career at inside centre, will start at fly half for the very first time in an England shirt with George Ford moving to the bench. Ford and Farrell have regularly played the ten-twelve axis together for England, however against Ireland there were signs that Farrell yearned to return to the position where he has thrived with Saracens.

Elsewhere Christian Wade, Rob Buchanan, Sam Twomey, Will Collier, Marland Yarde, Dan Robson, Ryan Bower and Sam Jones all come into the starting XV. Jones, the Wasps back row, takes the place of number 8 and Captain Alex Gray, who in turn moves to the bench. Gray’s demotion means that Worcester back row Matt Kvesic will lead England for the very first time. Kvesic’s outstanding performance against Ireland will surely have been a factor in coach Rob Hunter’s decision.

Hunter has been keen to stress that the rotation is strictly with an eye on fitness, and it is likely that the players such as Gray and full back Ben Ransom are sure to be restored to the starting line-up for the bigger matches to come.

The hard grounds of Italy make it the perfect setting for fast, expansive rugby. Scotland suffered a humiliating 33-0 defeat at the hands of South Africa in their opening match and one would suspect that England will be just as ruthless.

The line-up in full is as follows:

England U20s
15 Jonathan Joseph, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Ryan Mills, 11 Christian Wade, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Dan Robson; 1 Ryan Bower, 2 Rob Buchanan, 3 Will Collier, 4 Sam Twomey, 5 Joe Launchbury, 6 Matt Kvesic (c), 7 Matt Everard, 8 Sam Jones.

Koree Britton, Henry Thomas, Charlie Matthews, Alex Gray, Chris Cook, George Ford, Ben Ransom.

The match will be shown live on Sky Sports 3. Coverage starts at 5pm and the game kicks off at 5.10pm.

2 thoughts on “England U20s make nine changes for Scotland match

  1. Another good win…here’s some match reaction from the RFU press release:

    England U20 Head Coach Rob Hunter

    “It wasn’t out best display, but we’ve got three more games out here and it’s time to start ramping up our performance levels. We’ve seen that the pressure of getting out of your Pool is immense and the South Africa game next up will be a huge test for us. Of the 26 players in the squad, 25 have now had game time and it’s great that they’ve experienced it, we’ve tried to keep them all fresh because playing every four days is a challenge. I thought that the subs that came on against Scotland gave us a bit of a spark; Charlie Matthews, Alex Gray and Chris Cook all looked good and helped us to close the game out in what was a difficult game.”

    Worcester Warriors flanker Matt Kvesic (Captain)

    “It was a massive honour leading the boys out, and it’s especially pleasing that we’ve come away with the win. It wasn’t an easy game to play in, but to put 39 points on the board when you know there’s still more to come is a good sign. Scotland were tough and fought tooth and nail until the end but we’ve got some good finishers in the squad and it was nice to see Christian Wade go over for his tries. South Africa will be a different style of game, we know how physical they are so we’ll try and combat that the best way we can. It’s a game we’re all looking forward to as it’s a chance for us to compete against some very good southern hemisphere players.”

    London Wasps wing Christian Wade (Scored a hat-trick)

    “I’m really happy to score three tries but it was all about the team, they created the opportunities for me and I was just in the right place at the right time. Scotland were really tough to break down, they showed a lot of heart and gave us a good workout. The lads are a bit disappointed about the way we played, but at least we’re not kidding ourselves, we know that we’ve got things to work on and that’s exactly what we’ll do. I’m going to do all I can to make sure I get a chance against South Africa, which will definitely be a tough game but there’s a lot of talent within this squad and we’re confident of doing well.”

    Saracens fly half Owen Farrell

    “We know that we can play better than that, but in this kind of environment all you need to do is win matches and that’s what we’ve done. We’ve beaten Ireland and Scotland now, and we feel that there’s more to come, which is a good place to be. We’ll take a look at the Scotland game, figure out what we can do better and then do all we can to beat South Africa. We know it’s not going to be an easy game, and we know that we’re going to have to be at our best, but looking at the squad we’ve got here, there’s absolutely no reason why we can’t beat them – we’re confident in each other.”

    Gloucester Rugby centre Ryan Mills

    “We’re really happy about getting the win, but there’s no way we’ve peaked yet. There’s a lot to work on after the Scotland game, but to score five tries when you’re not at your best is always a good sign. It was hot out there which maybe limited us in terms of the amount of our running, but we still showed glimpses of what we’re capable of. Scotland made things tough for us and their set piece was pretty good – as we knew it would be, and they got behind us a few times, and that’s something we’ll take a look at.

    “South Africa are next and we know what kind of a side they are. They’re good with the ball in hand so we’ll be looking to keep as much possession as possible. It’s a winnable game and if we want to win the whole thing then we’ll need to play and beat these southern hemisphere sides.”

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