Melrose’s Keiran Clark named in Scottish matchday squad to face Italy in U20 Six Nations

Melrose’s Keiran Clark has been named in Scotland’s matchday squad to face Italy in the Under-20 Six Nations tomorrow, March 11.

Southern Knights' Keiran Clark playing against Stirling County at Melrose in October last year (Photo by Ross Parker/SNS Group/SRU)
Southern Knights' Keiran Clark playing against Stirling County at Melrose in October last year (Photo by Ross Parker/SNS Group/SRU)

The Southern Knights back-three player, also at Selkirk last year, could pick up his first under-20 cap as he is among the replacements for that fourth-round game in Treviso named by head coach Kenny Murray.

Murray has made three changes to the starting XV beaten by France in Edinburgh last time out.

Coming in are Glasgow Hutchesons’ Aloysians hooker Gregor Hiddleston, Glasgow Hawks openside flanker Tim Brown and Edinburgh wing Ben Evans.

Hawick's Rhys Tait in action for Scotland during their U20 Six Nations defeat by France at the DAM Health Stadium in Edinburgh last month (Photo by Ross Parker/SNS Group/SRU)

Hawick’s Rhys Tait continues as captain but moves from blindside flanker to No 8 to cover for the injured Ollie Leatherbarrow.

He’s one of two Borderers in the starting line-up, the other being stand-off Christian Townsend, formerly with Melrose

Hiddleston – replacing West Linton’s Patrick Harrison, out to have a suspected rib injury assessed – makes his first start for Scotland’s U20s in the front row, packing down with loosehead prop Mikey Jones and tighthead prop Gregor Scougall.

Josh Taylor starts his fourth consecutive game alongside Max Williamson at second-row.

In the back-row, Tait and Brown are joined by blindside flanker Matthew Deehan.

Forming a half-back pairing with Townsend for the third game running is scrum-half Murray Redpath, son of Galashiels-born former Scotland captain Bryan and brother of current senior international Cameron.

Andy Stirrat starts at inside centre, with Duncan Munn outside.

Joining Evans on the wings is Ross McKnight and Robin McClintock will be at full-back.

On the substitutes’ bench alongside Clark will be Duncan Hood, Ali Rogers, Callum Norrie, Rudi Brown, Innes Hill, Thomas Glendenning and Jed Gelderbloom.

Murray said: “Although the scoreline didn’t reflect it, there were some positives to take from the game against France.

“France were strong and powerful. We know Italy will bring more of the same, with added physicality, but we’ve already shown in the tournament that we can be strong, physical, and powerful too.

“We’ve selected a fairly settled side to face Italy.

“There are number of key partnerships within the team who have played several games together now and are beginning to gel.

“We’ll look for the whole squad to do the basics right to get the performance we want.”

Tomorrow’s game at Stadio Comunale di Mongio kicks off at 6pm and will be broadcast live on BBC iPlayer.

The Scots are currently bottom of the age-grade Six Nations table, having lost all three of their matches so far – 30-17 to France at home, 26-13 to Wales away and 41-24 to England at home – and picked up just one point.