Match Preview

Preview: Italy U20 v Scotland U20

Italy v Scotland U20 preview pic
Italy will look to make it back-to-back wins in the 2024 U20 Six Nations Championship against a Scotland side searching for their first victory of the campaign.

The Azzurrini earned an impressive 23-20 win away in France a fortnight ago, and will hope to follow that up on home soil with victory at the Stadio Comunale di Mongio on Friday night.

They welcome Scotland to Treviso, with their visitors looking to make amends following a 30-17 defeat to England last time out.

Italy were 40-17 victors in the 2023 figure in Glasgow and a repeat result this year would set them up nicely for Round 5.

Where to watch

Action gets underway at 7.15pm on Friday with UK coverage on BBC iPlayer. The match will be shown on Sky Italia in Italy.

Team news

Italy make seven changes from the team that started the victory over France, with a brand new front row set to pack down in Treviso.

Sergio Pelliccioli, Nicholas Gasperini, and Davide Ascari are the men charged with doing the work up front, with Mattia Midena also coming into the side at second row alongside Piero Gritti.

Cesare Zucconi, Luca Bellucci, and captain Jacopo Botturi, who scored the winning try against France, all retain their starting jerseys in the back row.

There is also a starting debut for scrum-half Mattia Jimenez, with Martino Pucciariello at fly-half while wing Francesco Imberti and centre Ferdinando Fusari both come in from the start.

Imberti joins the back three alongside wing Marco Scalabrin and full back Mirko Belloni, while Fusari teams up with Nicola Bozzo in midfield.

Scotland hand a debut to Finlay Doyle as one of four new faces brought into the squad from the defeat to England, as Kenny Murray makes a number of changes to his starting line-up.

Doyle will line up on the wing, completing a back three alongside Fergus Watson, who moves onto the wing, and Jack Hocking, who makes his first start, while Findlay Thompson also comes straight into the starting XV at inside centre alongside Geordie Gwynn.

There is also first start for Hector Paterson at scrum-half, he pairs with Isaac Coates in the half backs.

There are no changes in the front row, but there is a reshuffle in the rest of the pack, as Ryan Burke takes the starting jersey for the first time in the Championship in the second row alongside Euan McVie, while Ruaridh Hart shifts to blindside flanker in place of the injured Liam McConnell.

There are also potential debuts from the bench for Luke Coulston and Matthew Urwin from the bench.

What they said

Scotland head coach Kenny Murray said: “The team have had a good fallow week and are ready to get stuck in again for our final two Six Nations matches.

“We had a strong second half performance against England, but didn’t manage to start strong like we set out to do.

“Italy’s recent win against France highlights how strong they are at U20 level and they will be looking to build on that win in front of a passionate home crowd. It’s important that we cut out the unforced errors this week.”


Italy U20: Italy : 15 Mirko Belloni, 14 Marco Scalabrin, 13 Ferdinando Fusari, 12 Nicola Bozzo, 11 Francesco Imberti, 10 Martino Pucciariello, 9 Mattia Jimenez, 8 Jacopo Botturi, 7 Luca Bellucci, 6 Cesare Zucconi, 5 Piero Gritti, 4 Mattia Midena, 3 Davide Ascari, 2 Nicholas Gasperini, 1 Sergio Pelliccioli

Replacements: 16 Vittorio Padoan, 17 Federico Pisani, 18 Marcos Gallorini, 19 Giacomo Milano, 20 Riccardo Paganin, 21 Lorenzo Casilio, 22 Francesco Bini, 23 Patrick De Villiers

Scotland U20: 15. Jack Hocking, 14. Finlay Doyle, 13. Geordie Gwynn,12. Findlay Thomson, 11. Fergus Watson, 10. Isaac Coates, 9. Hector Patterson; 1. Robbie Deans, 2. Jerry Blyth-Lafferty, 3. Callum Norrie, 4. Euan McVie, 5. Ryan Burke, 6. Ruaraidh Hart, 7. Freddy Douglas, 8. Tom Currie

Replacements: 16. Gavin Parry, 17. Callum Smyth, 18. Ryan Whitefield, 19. Luke Coulston, 20. Jonny Morris, 21. Murdoch Lock, 22. Matthew Urwin, 23. Johnny Ventisei