The Scotland U20 manager is concerned about players’ conditioning and the threat posed by Italy after the Six Nations wooden spoon

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The 59-5 defeat of Grand Slam winners Ireland in Cork on Sunday revealed the rift between the teams and was Scotland’s fifth defeat in five games.

Since finishing fifth at the World Cup in 2017, Scotland have won five and lost 30 matches at this level and have been relegated from the World Cup.

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The world has changed for all of us since March 23, 2020, it’s been a difficult time because of the pandemic and for young sports talent, but however you dress it, the results don’t lie.

Head coach Kenny Murray during Scotland U20 training. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)

Worryingly, alongside Ireland, who won five games in February and March, Italy won three and judging by Ange Capuozzo, who now plays for the full team at 22, his conveyor belt works far better than ours.

With no World Rugby events next summer due to ongoing Covid concerns, Scotland will have to wait until 2023 to try to be promoted from the World Trophy.

Discussions are ongoing about some sort of under-20 event to take place in a couple of months, but for now Murray, Scottish rugby performance director Jim Mallinder and others have a lot of issues to work out.

“When we review this season we will look at all aspects of it and see how we need to move forward, but certainly the condition of the players is a big thing,” Murray said after the Ireland defeat.

Callum Norrie scores a second half try for Scotland during a Six Nations U20 Championship match between Scotland and France at DAM Health Stadium on February 25, 2022 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

“Some players out there [in that game] I don’t think we were conditioned to play at that level.

“Covid hasn’t been great for us and I think some of what we’ve seen is the result of that, but there are a number of areas where we need to improve.

“We need to look at our Talent ID and make sure we have every player that can be available to us. We need to look at our competition program to make sure players under 20 are playing as much as they can in a good intensity competition, so Super6.

“We have to try and improve the intensity of rugby that a lot of them play, otherwise we’ll always get the same results.”

The FOSROC Super6, launched three years ago to bridge the gap between amateur and pro, and featuring part-time pro players, starts a sprint series starting April 16th that will last a few months.

Super6 will then return from a full season from the end of August and Murray adds: “We need to make sure the under-20s get meaningful and impactful playing time at Super6.

“Part of my role is working with the Super6 coaches and making sure we’re at the top and making sure the lads get games.

“The only way they’ll get better is by playing better games, there’s a lot to do.”

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