Match Preview


The U20 Six Nations is going to down to the wire on Friday night, with England and Ireland both in contention to be crowned champions.

England have a slender one-point lead following their pulsating 32-32 draw with Ireland in Round 4 but face a trough trip to France in Round 5.

If they slip up, it could open the door for Ireland, who are seeking a third title in a row and host Scotland in Cork.

Ireland will be chasing a bonus-point win in order to put pressure on England and will start as heavy favourites against a Scotland team that are yet to win this year and arrive off the back of conceding 40 unanswered points in the second half to Italy last week.

Ireland U20 have not lost a Championship match in the Emerald Isle in six years, and have already seen off Italy and Wales at Musgrave Park this year.

There are also some personal accolades on the line, with Ireland kicker Jack Murphy chasing the top points scorer award - he has a seven-point lead currently - and Danny Sheahan in the race for top try scorer. He has three, one fewer than Italy's Marco Scalabrin.


Friday night’s match is live on Virgin Media Two in Republic of Ireland and the BBC iPlayer in the UK. Fans in Northern Ireland have the option of both.


Ireland have once again named an unchanged backline for the visit of Scotland to Cork.

In the pack, Alex Usanov, Henry Walker and Jacob Boyd are in the front row, with Joe Hopes moving back to the second row to partner captain Evan O’Connell.

Sean Edogbo returns to the starting XV at blindside flanker, Bryn Ward is at openside and Luke Murphy continues at No.8.

Scotland have called up four new names into the matchday 23 for the final game. Jack Brown – one of the 15 FOSROC Scottish Rugby contracted academy players aligned to Edinburgh Rugby for the 2023/24 season – is set to make his debut when he starts at full-back.

The bench welcomes Marcus Brogan for the first time to cover hooker, as well as backs Andrew McLean and Finn Douglas, who will both look to make their first appearance this campaign.

Second row Ryan Burke and back Fergus Watson both have to sit out for the final game due to injury. Squad rotation sees Jack Hocking, Gavin Parry, Luke Coulston, Murdoch Lock and Matthew Urwin rested.

Loosehead prop Callum Smyth makes his first start of the campaign, while co-captain Ruaraidh Hart switches from the back-row to second row.

Johnny Ventisei makes his first start of the Championship at centre.


Scotland Head coach Kenny Murray said: “Being up at half-time against Italy proved that we can compete against these teams, but we must give a full 80-minute performance.”

“The small errors we made against them cost us and that’s the reality of international rugby.

“We know Ireland are going to be even tougher this weekend. They are playing to win the title in front of a home crowd, so will pull out all the stops.”


Ireland U20s: 15. Ben O’Connor, 14. Finn Treacy, 13. Wilhelm de Klerk, 12. Hugh Gavin, 11. Hugo McLaughlin, 10. Jack Murphy, 9. Oliver Coffey, 1. Alex Usanov, 2. Henry Walker, 3. Jacob Boyd, 4. Joe Hopes, 5. Evan O’Connell (c), 6. Sean Edogbo, 7. Bryn Ward, 8. Luke Murphy

Replacements: 16. Danny Sheahan, 17. Ben Howard, 18. Patreece Bell, 19. Billy Corrigan, 20. James McKillop, 21. Tadhg Brophy, 22. Sean Naughton, 23. Davy Colbert

Scotland U20s: 15. Jack Brown, 14. Finlay Doyle, 13. Johnny Ventisei, 12. Findlay Thomson, 11. Geordie Gwynn (cc), 10. Isaac Coates, 9. Hector Patterson, 1. Callum Smyth, 2. Jerry Blyth-Lafferty, 3. Callum Norrie, 4. Euan McVie, 5. Ruaraidh Hart (cc), 6. Jonny Morris, 7. Freddy Douglas, 8. Tom Currie

Replacements: 16. Marcus Brogan, 17. Robbie Deans, 18. Ryan Whitefield, 19. Archie Clarke, 20. Monroe Job, 21. Eric Davey, 22. Andrew McLean, 23. Finn Douglas