The teams were announced earlier this afternoon for the Scotland U20 v Ireland U20 match which takes place at Broadwood Stadium on Friday night. The match kicks off at 20:30, immediately after the Women’s game, and both matches will be streamed live on Scottish Rugby TV.
Four Ulster players have made the cut and I’m particularly pleased to see Jonny Stewart and Johnny McPhillips as the halfbacks after the pair showed good form for Ulster A in the last two B&I Cup pool matches. Ulster A prop Peter Cooper also starts and Marcus Rea will be looking to get a run out from the bench. Unfortunately for Ireland U20’s it looks like the highly rated duo of Ulster’s Robert Lyttle and Munster’s Calvin Nash are carrying knocks and aren’t considered for this one.
On recent history you would expect Ireland to take this one. Ireland won the corresponding fixture last season to finish 3rd to Scotlands 4th in last seasons championship plus, of course Ireland’s 2nd place finish in the 2016 World Rugby U20 Championship compares very favourably to Scotland’s 8th place. However, the exciting thing about these age grade fixtures is that it really is a new team every season.
The downside for Ireland is that this is the first season that they have done away with the U20 Interprovincials, the good news is that the youngsters have been generally playing at a higher standard in the B&I Cup and above. Those on the periphery of the provincial A teams, like Ulster’s Marcus Rea, may struggle to bridge the gap with comparitively more experienced players. It’ll be interesting to see how it all pans out.
The FRU Predicts; Notorious for slow starts in these competitions, Ireland might just hit this season’s competition at full speed thanks to the bulk of the players playing at a generally higher standard. Ireland to win with a degree of comfort.
|SCOTLAND U20||IRELAND U20|
|Darcy Graham||15||Jack Kelly|
|Robbie Nairn||14||Jordan Larmour|
|Craig Pringle||13||Gavin Mullin|
|Cameron Hutchison||12||Ciaran Frawley|
|Ross McCann||11||Colm Hogan|
|Josh Henderson||10||Johnny McPhillips|
|Andrew Simmers||9||Jonny Stewart|
|George Thornton||1||Joey Conway|
|Fraser Renwick||2||Tadgh McElroy|
|Adam Nicol||3||Peter Cooper|
|Alex Craig||4||Fineen Wycherley|
|Callum Hunter-Hill||5||Oisin Dowling|
|Luke Crosbie||6||Cillian Gallagher|
|Matt Fagerson||7||Paul Boyle|
|Tom Dodd||8||Caelan Doris|
|Robbie Smith||16||Adam Moloney|
|Daniel Winning||17||Rory Mulvihill|
|Fergus Bradbury||18||Charlie Connolly|
|Hamish Bain||19||Jack Regan|
|Jamie Ure||20||Marcus Rea|
|Bruce Flockhart||21||Jack Lyons|
|Charlie Shiel||22||Conor Fitzgerald|
|Stafford McDowall||23||Tommy O’Brien|