Scotland will be desperate to win this one, not only to revenge the shock defeat against Italy (31-45) from 2018 but also to avoid the wooden spoon which they will bring with from the 2018 Championship. Italy, on the other hand, will be positive to better on their 4th position on the log at the end of the 2018 Championship. Two close losses against England (17-27) and Ireland (34-38) will serve as the necessary motivation.
Seven of Carl Hogg’s Scotland team will make their debuts when they line up for the second game of the weekend on Friday night. Glasgow Warriors’ Ollie Smith will make his debut at full-back while two newcomers, Cameron Anderson and Robbie McCallum, are the centre partnership.
Flanker Connor Boyle takes the armband, with stand-off Ross Thompson is chosen as his deputy.
Hogg was excited with the mix of pace and power in the line-up, as Scotland look to improve on the 2018 Championship where they finished bottom of the table. He said: “The boys have trained really well in the run-up to the match and I’ve been impressed with their mindset and positivity throughout training camp.
“Italy is a tough, combative side and we’re well aware of the passion that they bring to the fold. The boys know how tough the game will be and we’ll have to match their intensity from the get-go on Friday night.”
Italy will go into the match with confidence, having won 45-31 on the closing weekend of last year’s Championship.
No.8 Antoine Koffi and his back-row partner Davide Ruggeri, who skippers the side, both featured in the 2018 victory last time out. Centre Damiano Mazza is another name retained from the victory. He is partnered in the midfield by Matteo Moscardi.
Head coach Fabio Roselli said: “The mental aspect will be fundamental. They have a game very similar to that of the senior team, based on possession, so we will have to be good at limiting their attacks.”
Scotland U20 team
15. Ollie Smith (Ayr)*, 14. Rory McMichael (Heriot’s)*, 13. Cameron Anderson (Wasps), 12. Robbie McCallum (Complutense Cisneros), 11. Jack Blain (Heriot’s)*, 10. Ross Thompson (Glasgow Hawks)* VICE-CAPTAIN, 9. Roan Frostwick (Currie Chieftains)*, 8. Jack Mann (Edinburgh Accies)*, 7. Connor Boyle (Watsonians)* CAPTAIN, 6. Kwagga Van Niekerk (Lions), 5. Charlie Jupp (Heriot’s)*, 4. Ewan Johnson (Racing 92), 3. Murphy Walker (Stirling County)*, 2. Finlay Scott (Jed-Forest)*, 1. Sam Grahamslaw (Leicester Tigers).
Replacements: 16. Euan Ashman (Sale Sharks); 17. Andrew Nimmo (Glasgow Hawks)*; 18. Euan McLaren (Ayr)*; 19. Cameron Henderson (Stirling County)*; 20. Ross Bundy (Stirling County); 21. Kyle McGhie (Musselburgh); 22. Nathan Chamberlain (Bristol Bears); 23. Rufus McLean (Watsonians)*
Italy U20 team
15. Jacopo Trulla (Valsugana Rugby Padova), 14. Edoardo Mastandrea (Valsugana Rugby Padova), 13. Matteo Moscardi (FEMI-CZ Rovigo), 12. Damiano Mazza (Kawasaki Robot Calvisano), 11. Michael Mba (Rugby Casale), 10. Paolo Garbisi (Mogliano Rugby 1969), 9. Alessandro Fusco (Rugby Naples Afragola), 8. Antoine Koffi (Kawasaki Robot Calvisano), 7. Davide Ruggeri (Rugby Como) (c), 6. Mirco Finotto (Mogliano Rugby 1969), 5. Thomas Parolo (FEMI-CZ Rovigo), 4. Nicolae Cristian Stoian (Rugby Anzio), 3. Matteo Nocera (Flame Gold Rugby), 2. Niccolò Taddia (FEMI-CZ Rovigo), 1. Matteo Drudi (Frascati Rugby Club).
16. Luca Franceschetto (Rugby Vicenza), 17. Gianmarco Lucchesi (Lions Amaranth), 18. Filippo Alongi (The Titans), 19, Marco Butturini (Modena Rugby 1965), 20. Angelo Maurizi (Rugby Union of L’Aquila), 21. Gianmarco Piva (FEMI-CZ Rovigo), 22. Giacomo Da Re (Mogliano Rugby 1969), 23. Federico Mori (Rugby Etruschi Livorno)