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Six nations Under-20s Round Three Preview

Six nations Under-20s Round Three Preview

Six nations Under-20s Round Three Preview

Round Three of the Under-20s Six Nations is coming in hot with all six teams in action on a bumper Friday night.

Italy v Ireland

And table toppers Ireland kick things off against Italy at the Stadio Centro d’Italia in Rieti.

Head coach Noel McNamara has so far led his side to back-to-back wins in the Championship, the only team to do so.

Meanwhile Italy opened with a win over Scotland but were undone by Wales in Round Two leaving them part of the chasing pack on five points, four behind Ireland.

Ireland have made two changes to their squad for the trip to Rieti with scrum-half Craig Casey, who missed the Scotland match through injury, returning to the team.

The other change sees the fit-again Angus Kernohan take his spot on the right wing having played for Ulster in their Guinness PRO14 win over Ospreys last weekend.

Italy make five changes to their starting line up from the Wales game with Filippo Alongi and Andrej Marinello starting in the front row.

Meanwhile in the backline, Giacomo Da Re will start at full-back with Lorenzo Citton taking no No.9 shirt and Federico Mori coming into the centres.

Wales v England

England are on the road in Wales, with the two teams locked on five points with a win and a loss so far in the Championship.

The English were impressive in Round Two against reigning champions France after succumbing to Ireland in their opening fixture.

Head coach Steve Bates has rung the changes ahead of this one making seven alterations to his side.

Alfie Petch, Kieran Wilkinson, Connor Doherty and Ollie Hassell-Collins will all make their Under-20s debuts, while Tom de Glanville will start his first game.

Elsewhere, flanker Richard Capstick comes into the pack for the clash at the ZipWorld Stadium while Ollie Fox starts alongside Wilkinson in the new half-back pairing.

Wales head coach Gareth Williams has made five changes of his own ahead of the clash in Colwyn Bay with three fresh faces to the starting XV.

In the forwards, Round Two hat-trick scorer Taine Basham has been released back to the Dragons and will be replaced at No.8 by Iestyn Rees.

Meanwhile in the backs, Basham’s regional teammate and scrum-half Dafydd Buckland starts his first game in place of the injured Jamie Hill, having made two appearances as a replacement so far.

Ospreys winger Dewi Cross will get his first start in this year’s Championship as he comes in for Deon Smith who takes his places on the bench.

Dragons’ Dan Babos and Max Ayling have also been brought onto the replacements bench.

France v Scotland

Finally Scotland will be looking to get their Championship up and running against France in Friday’s final clash.

Two defeats so far have left Carl Hogg’s side without a point as he reshuffles his backline for the trip to Stade du Hameau.

Grant Hughes is set to make his Under-20s debut is one of three changes to the side’s back division.

Hughes is partnered in the centre by the returning Ollie Smith, while Matt Davidson is named at full-back after impressing from the bench against Ireland two weeks ago.

The only change to the forward pack sees Ross Bundy make his first start after being selected at No.8 in the place of Kwagga van Niekerk.

And France, who make up the quartet of chasing teams, have made a mammoth nine changes as they look to bounce back from defeat in England.

There are four changes to the pack, with Eli Eglaine and Pierre Jutge coming into the front row, while La Rochelle duo Thomas Lavault and Paul Boudehent start in the second row and back row respectively, with the former captaining the side.

In the backs, the new half-back pairing is Baptiste Germain and Mathieu Smaïli, while Simon Desaubies and Yoram Moefana come into the centres.

Finally, Erwan Dridi gets his first start on the wing, having come off the bench against the English.