Peter Wright tries to shore up pack in final U20s’ push

SCOTLAND Under-20 head coach Peter Wright has reshuffled the pack as he takes his team to Italy for the final game of the RBS Six Nations championship

After four defeats in the first four games, Wright says his focus is on getting his young side mentally prepared for the game in Brescia.

Despite running a good French side close at Netherdale in their previous outing at home, Wright believes their 26-point loss to Ireland was a step down in performance.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

He said: “It’s going to be a difficult last game, particularly after the step backwards we saw last week. Other than a change at scrum-half we’re keeping the same backline but felt it was a good time to make some changes in the pack. The lineout struggled against Ireland, that’s something we need to work on this week.”

At scrum-half Murray McConnell (Glasgow Warriors/Ayr) start in place of Ospreys’ Matt Torrance.

Dundee HSFP’s Callum Reid gets a first start in the back row, replacing Jamie Swanson of Boroughmuir at No 8.

Adam Sinclair (Stirling County) returns to his starting berth alongside Jonny Gray (Hamilton) in the second row with Wright looking for the abrasive lock to help improve the misfiring lineout.

Currie’s Fergus Scott will start at hooker after passing a fitness test, with George Turner (Edinburgh/Edinburgh Accies) moving to the bench.

Wright added: “When we saw Italy in their first matches they lacked structure and shape but they really turned it around in their last game against Wales. They looked really good.

“It’s never easy to play Italy on their own patch, and they are big tough guys. They are coming off a good performance and playing at home while we are coming off a pretty disappointing performance and have to travel.”

It’s been a theme for the young Scotland side that they’ve come up against physically bigger teams and have struggled in the contact areas. Wright believes it is about finding a way to counter that disadvantage.

“It’s been the case for us for a while now that we don’t have size working to our advantage.

“We have to keep playing to our strengths and keep up the pace and mobility and hopefully work their forwards around the pitch.”