Here are the latest rugby headlines on Saturday, February 12.
Scotland’s bomb squad
Scotland will unleash their own ‘bomb squad’ against Wales today after learning from world champions South Africa.
Gregor Townsend surprised many by replacing his entire front row for the trip to Cardiff, but it’s clear he believes they will have a decisive role to play.
South Africa’s 2019 World Cup win was largely based on a strong forward presence among the replacements, and they regularly select arguably their strongest front rowers on the bench.
The Scots have brought in WP Nel, Pierre Schoeman and Stuart McInally for George Turner, Rory Sutherland and Zander Fagerson.
Townsend said: “We saw that last week when WP, Stuart and Pierre came on and really did a good job, both in the tight and the loose.
“We see the same potentially happened with Rory, George and Zander who probably have been our starting front row for the last couple of years when they’ve all been fit. Certainly last season in the Six Nations.
“We’ve now got a real depth in our front row. We want to use them so they’re fresh and can take Wales on in the first half as well as the second half. It’s something we learned from playing South Africa.”
Read more: Live Wales v Scotland match updates
Italy stun England amid wild scenes
England U20s were stunned in Italy last night as they lost the Six Nations fixture for the first time in history.
It was also the first time they have failed to score a single point as they were beaten 6-0 in Rome.
It was a seismic victory for the Italians who were beaten 41-15 by France on the opening weekend of the tournament.
Two Nicolo Teneggi penalties secured the win. He struck early in both halves and though he missed two more presentable kicks which could have made the winning margin more comfortable.
The victory sparked wild scenes of celebration among the players and those in the crowd.
Wales U20s bounce back
Wales’ youngsters recorded a superb win over Scotland, just a week after being humiliated in Dublin.
The 26-13 win was a well-earned victory full of guts and no little skill as the Welsh team crossed for four tries and a bonus point.
You can read the full report from a memorable night here.
Rowlands takes it personally
Wales lock Will Rowlands has admitted he took last weekend’s physical battering against Ireland personally.
Rowlands is among a number of Welsh figures who have promised a different approach against Scotland after being blown away in Dublin.
Asked if he was personally affronted by coming second best in the basics, he said: “Yes. It’s always a focus for me to try and improve on, and to try and bring a bit of that to the team.
“I do take it personally when we’ve come second best in that area, and I did a bit on the weekend.
“I don’t want to say on the back of last weekend’s result that the guys are fired up to perform well this weekend because it’s a Six Nations game at home at the Principality Stadium in front of 75,000 of our fans.
“Everyone is fired up for those occasions all the time, but it definitely does add an edge. We were disappointed on the weekend, and as a result this weekend there’s a bit more focus on trying to basically deliver a performance we know we are capable of.”
Woodward backs Scots
Sir Clive Woodward is backing Scotland to sneak past Wales today.
Writing in his MailOnline column, he said: “I’m taking Scotland to win by the narrowest of margins against a Wales side who did not do themselves justice in Dublin last week.
“Wales will play much better in front of their home fans and with the pundits rightly talking Scotland up, Wayne Pivac’s men would love to rain on their parade.
“Wales will be stronger up front and benefit from the return of Owen Watkin at outside centre. It’s a position where you need specialist operators and, frankly, it has been a big ask to expect Josh Adams to fill in there. I appreciate that versatility has its place but specialisation trumps it every time.
“So Wales will improve considerably but Scotland will still win. Such is their strength in depth that Gregor Townsend feels able to make five changes from the winning side against England with only one of those changes forced by injury.
“Among other things, he introduced en bloc the front row who closed out the game for him last week — his very own Bomb Squad. Scotland will have to scrap hard but a rare win in Cardiff should be their reward.”
Leinster go top
Max Deegan’s 70th-minute try delivered maximum points for Leinster in a scrappy 26-7 United Rugby Championship win over Edinburgh at the RDS.
Converted scores from Scott Penny and Nick McCarthy had the hosts leading 14-0 at half-time, with Edinburgh counting the cost of a Connor Boyle yellow card.
Leo Cullen’s men, who lost at Cardiff last time out, struggled for momentum until replacement Vakh Abdaladze and Deegan crossed during the final quarter.
Argentinian winger Emiliano Boffelli burst over late on for the Scots, who sat second coming into the match, but Leinster have leapfrogged them in the overall table.
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