Preview – Can Scotland U20 Repeat Their 2023 Win Over Wales U20?


Wales U20 will host Scotland U20 in the U20 Six Nations season opener on Friday at the Stadiwm CSM, Colwyn Bay at 20:45 (SA Time).

Wales U20 will be captained by Dragons RFC centre Harri Ackerman and will have eight players starting who will all be making their debuts. There are potentially six more players on the bench who could earn their first caps at this level.

Ackerman, along with midfield partner Louie Hennessey and No 8 Morgan Morse are the only survivors from the starting XV who lost to Scotland last year in Glasgow.

“The boys have trained well for the last couple of weeks and the guys who have been selected to play have earned the right through their training and their regional performances. We’re now just excited to finish off the week and get up to North Wales and give it a crack,” said Whiffin.

He added there were some tight calls made selection-wise but he’s satisfied he has named a side that will be looking to get their campaign off to a winning start.

“The back three guys have really stood out and there’s been some challenging discussions around there – similarly the front row we’ve had lots of boys in and around camp and guys putting their hand up but like I say we were really happy with the depth that we’ve got in all positions and happy with the team we’ve selected.”

Wales U20s played two warm-up games against Aberavon and Swansea University which gave Whiffin an insight into the standard of talent at his disposal.

“Our game against Aberavon was a great opportunity for a lot of younger players to play their first senior rugby, especially those tight five forwards. It was a good challenge for those guys and also having to come back from a deficit showed plenty of character and then the Swansea game gave me an opportunity to see the real depth in the squad.”

Whiffin is expecting a tough battle against Scotland as recent history has shown they are a tough nut to crack.

“You think about the game up there just before Christmas and obviously the one-point game last Six Nations, I expect it to be very tight. They have a very good pack, their maul is pretty strong so I expect them to challenge us in that area.

“On top of that they’ve got some real good pace in those wider channels so I would imagine they are a team that is going to come down thinking they’ve got a good opportunity, and it will be a tough challenge for us but one that we walk towards.

“You look at how much momentum can be created from an early victory. It can set you up well for the rest of the championship and will build confidence in the group. That result on Friday is going to be massively important but we also want to produce a good performance in terms of what we’ve been practising for the last few weeks – we want to get out on the field and then hopefully that takes care of the result .”

Scotland U20 Head Coach Kenny Murray has confirmed his team that will face Wales U20.

Flanker Liam McConnell will lead the 23-man squad from the back row, supported by second-row Ruaraidh Hart and centre Geordie Gwynn as vice-captains.

Robbie Deans, who made four appearances during last year’s Under-20 Six Nations, starts at loosehead prop joined by Ollie Blyth-Lafferty who will make his U20 debut at tighthead. Hooker Elliot Young returns to the team for the first time since his debut against Ireland U20 in last year’s campaign.

Euan McVie will start alongside vice-captain Ruaraidh Hart in the second row, making his debut for the age-grade side.

Captain Liam McConnell will be joined in the back row by newcomers Freddy Douglas and Tom Currie, both of whom were regulars in the FOSROC Future XV team during last year’s FOSROC Super Series Championship.

U20 debutants Murdoch Lock and Isaac Coates will come together to make up the half-back pairing, starting at scrum-half and stand-off respectively.

Amena Caqusau, who scored nine tries as part of the FOSROC Future XV outfit in the 2023 FOSROC Super Series Championship, will join Kerr Johnston as they take charge on either wing.

The centre pairing boasts plenty of experience with vice-captain Geordie Gwynn joining forces with Kerr Yule. Fergus Watson will complete the starting 15 when he dons the full-back jersey for the first time.

A six-two split will make up the bench with Jerry Blyth-Lafferty, Alex O’Driscoll, Callum Norrie, Archie Clarke, Monroe Job and Jonny Morris in place to bolster the forwards and Eric Davey and Jack Hocking available to cover the backs.

Head coach Kenny Murray said: “The team have prepared well for what should be a very competitive match in Colwyn Bay.

“We beat Wales last year at Scotstoun, but our hosts will be sure to use that as fuel to push for a win in front of their home crowd.

“The Under-20 Six Nations is always an exciting time of year for everyone involved. The players have put a lot of time and effort into their own game over the last year and we can’t wait to see them out on the pitch on Friday.“


Wales U20: 15 Huw Anderson (Dragons), 14 Harry Rees-Weldon (Dragons RFC), 13 Louie Hennessey (Bath Rugby), 12 Harri Ackerman (c) (Dragons RFC), 11 Walker Price (Dragons RFC), 10 Harri Wilde (Cardiff Rugby), 9 Ieuan Davies (Bath Rugby), 1 Jordan Morris (Dragons), 2 Harry Thomas (Scarlets), 3 Kian Hire (Ospreys), 4 Jonny Green (Harlequins), 5 Nick Thomas (Dragons), 6 Osian Thomas (Leicester Tigers), 7 Lucas de la Rua (Cardiff Rugby), 8 Morgan Morse (Ospreys). Replacements: 16 Evan Wood (Cardiff Met), 17 Freddie Chapman (Ospreys), 18 Sam Scott (Midlands Central), 19 Owen Conquer (Ebbw Vale), 20 Harri Beddall (Leicester Tigers), 21 Rhodri Lewis (Ospreys), 22 Harri Ford (RGC), 23 Macs Page (Scarlets).

Scotland U20: 15. Fergus Watson (Glasgow Warriors), 14. Kerr Johnston (Glasgow Warriors), 13. Geordie Gwynn (vc) (Ealing Trailfinders/Brunel University), 12. Kerr Yule (Glasgow Warriors), 11. Amena Caqusau (Glasgow Warriors), 10. Isaac Coates (Edinburgh Rugby), 9. Murdoch Lock (Bath Rugby/Bath University), 1. Robbie Deans (Edinburgh Rugby), 2. Elliot Young (Exeter Chiefs/Exeter University), 3. Ollie Blyth-Lafferty (Edinburgh Rugby), 4. Euan McVie (Edinburgh Rugby), 5. Ruaraidh Hart (vc) (Glasgow Warriors), 6. Liam McConnell (c) (Edinburgh Rugby), 7. Freddy Douglas (Edinburgh Rugby), 8. Tom Currie (Edinburgh Rugby). Replacements: 16. Jerry Blyth-Lafferty (Edinburgh Rugby), 17. Alex O’Driscoll (Saracens/Loughborough University), 18. Callum Norrie (Glasgow Warriors), 19. Archie Clarke (Durham University), 20. Monroe Job (Southern Knights), 21. Jonny Morris (Glasgow Warriors), 22. Eric Davey (Stirling Wolves), 23. Jack Hocking (Edinburgh Rugby).