SCOTLAND Under-20s coach Carl Hogg has named a radically different team for tomorrow’s clash with New Zealand, keeping just three players from the starting line-up that lost the opening game of the U20 World Championship to South Africa. Racing 92 lock Ewan Johnson and Heriot’s winger Jack Blain are the only two to hold on to their jerseys for the match in Rosario, Argentina’s third largest city, while Blain’s clubmate Rory McMichael remains in the team but moves from right wing to outside centre.
With just four days between matches in Pool C, a big turnover of players was all but inevitable, although Hogg has done his best to increase the continuity by starting with some combinations that ended Tuesday’s 43-19 defeat by the South Africans. For example, the front-row trio that begins tomorrow – Andrew Nimmo, Rory Jackson and Will Hurd – was the one that finished together on Tuesday.
Full-back Ollie Smith and centre Robbie McCallum got the last 10 minutes of that first game, while No 8 Kwagga Van Niekerk played the last 25 minutes. Van Niekerk is joined in the back row tomorrow by two other newcomers, blindside Jack Hill and openside Teddy Leatherbarrow. Nathan Chamberlain comes in at 10 and takes over the captaincy from Connor Boyle.
New Zealand, who beat Georgia 45-13 in their opening fixture, are firm favourites to make it two wins out of two. Scotland’s last Pool C game is against Georgia on Wednesday, again at Rosario’s Racecourse Stadium.
Scotland U20s (v New Zealand U20s at Racecourse Stadium, Rosario, Saturday 8 June, kick-off 7.30pm BST, 4.30pm local time, streamed live on world.rugby/u20): Ollie Smith (Ayr); Lomond MacPherson (Watsonians), Rory McMichael (Heriot’s), Robbie McCallum (Complutense Cisneros), Jack Blain (Heriot’s); Nathan Chamberlain (Bristol Bears, capt), Murray Scott (Watsonians); Andrew Nimmo (Glasgow Hawks), Rory Jackson (Edinburgh Academy), Will Hurd (Cardiff Metropolitan Uni), Ewan Johnson (Racing 92), Ross Bundy (Stirling County), Jack Hill (Durham Uni), Teddy Leatherbarrow (Sale Sharks), Kwagga Van Niekerk (Lions).
Substitutes: Ewan Ashman (Sale Sharks), Murphy Walker (Stirling County), Euan McLaren (Ayr), Mak Wilson (Melrose), Cameron Henderson (Stirling County), Marshall Sykes (Ayr), Tom Marshall (Newcastle Falcons), Roan Frostwick (Currie Chieftains), Connor Boyle (Watsonians), Ross Thompson (Glasgow Hawks), Grant Hughes (Stirling County), Cameron Anderson (Wasps), Matt Davidson (London Scottish).