U18 Six Nations Festival Guide: Round 2 rolls into view

Day two of the U18 Six Nations festival gets underway tomorrow at Sixways.

Day two of the U18 Six Nations festival gets underway tomorrow at Sixways.

And it will have to go some to match the drama of an enthralling opening set of games last weekend at Hartpury College.

But with three more mouth-watering match-ups and each of them live on Free Sports, all eyes will again be on the next generation of Rugby’s Greatest Championship.

The first game at 11:10AM sees Italy, the heroes of day one, take on France.

France had to hold on at the death to down Ireland in their opening fixture but all eyes will be on the Azzurrini.

It took a last-gasp Fabio Schiabel to down Scotland last weekend, but the Italians celebrated in some style after claiming yet another scalp.

They downed England last year in the inaugural edition and have now added Scotland – champions lest we forget at the Festival 12 months ago – to their list of scalps.

France had to work hard to hold off Ireland in round one and will be keen to avoid becoming the latest Italian victim.

Next up at 13:40 it is England against Ireland at Sixways.

Jim Mallinder’s side show several changes from the team that dispatched Wales in the opening round and keep an eye out for Phil Cokanasiga.

The younger brother of England’s breakout star Joe comes into midfield while Ollie Stonham and Will Trenholm come into the back with Raffi Quirke at No.9 and an all new back three.

Ireland, keen to bounce back from the France defeat, also ring the changes.

Chris Cosgrave and Jamie Osborne are the only survivors in the backline while up front No.8 and skipper Alex Kendellen is retained as are the second row pairing of Darragh Murray and Alex Soroka.

“We’ll treat it as the hardest game and go from there,” said Ireland head coach Peter Smyth.  “England had a very good win over Wales (38-20), but we’ll take the positives out of our game and look forward to training and preparing for England.”

The final game of the second day of the festival will see Scotland and Wales lock horns.

Both sides are looking to register their first wins and keep their title hopes alive.

Scotland know that nothing less than a win will keep the defence of their 2018 Festival win on course.

And U18 head coach, Ross Miller, said after his side’s last-gasp defeat to Italy: “The players are disappointed not to get the result but it was a good learning experience for them.

“I thought there were some real positives in the way we attacked and how we kept possession, however, it is a credit to the Italian side as they took their opportunities in the second half.”