Under-18s start with tough task against England

SCOTLAND open their Five Nations Under-18 Festival campaign at Llandovery today against reigning champions England, in what looks by far the hardest of their three games in Wales over the next eight days.

The young Scots will face what is a professional England Under-18 side drawn from Guinness Premiership Academies and with a set of results that confirms their supremacy at this age grade.

Scotland suffered against England last season, losing in a warm-up match in Newcastle, before going down to an even heavier defeat by 75-0 in the Five Nations Festival match in Viadana last April. Scotland U18 team manager Euan Kennedy insists that last season's results have not been part of team talk. "This is a positive squad and I believe they are a lot more physical than last year's team," he said.

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The Scots' squad has been weakened by the loss of hooker Fergus Scott, who was taken ill with pancreatitis. He is replaced by Jack MacFarlane. North Berwick's Stuart Smith is recalled a lock.

Scotland Under-18s: Jamie Urquart (Dollar Academy); Harris Jones (Boroughmuir), Jack Bradford (Worksop College), Aidan McCall Hagen (West of Scotland); Harry Leonard (Brighton College), Murray McConnell (West of Scotland) captain; Robin Hislop (Hawick Wanderers), George Turner (Stewart's-Melville College), Fraser Watt (East Kilbride), Stuart Smith (North Berwick), William Kay (Boroughmuir), Mitch Eadie (Filton College), Adam De St Croix (Boroughmuir), Lawrie Seydak (Edinburgh Academy) Substitutes from Alex Allan (Sedbergh), Jack MacFarlane (Glasgow Hawks), Andrew Redmayne (Kilmarnock), Rory Sutherland (Hawick Wanderers), Ben Johnstone (Stewart's-Melville College), Jamie Stevenson (Whitgift College), Sam Knudson (Aberdeen Grammar), Stuart Hogg (Heriot's), Mark Bennett (Cumnock), Andrew Hall (Strathallan).