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Records tumble as Scotland and Japan win big on day one of U20 Trophy

By Jon Newcombe
Scotland turned on the style against Samoa on day one of the World Rugby U20 Trophy 2024. Photo credit: SNS Group / World Rugby

The opening day of the World Rugby U20 Trophy produced the two highest scores in the history of the competition, with hosts Scotland and Pool A rivals Japan running amok against Samoa and Hong Kong China.


Japan began the day at Hive Stadium in Edinburgh with a 105-20 win against Hong Kong China in the U20 Trophy’s first all-Asian tie. It was the most points scored in an U20 Trophy match, narrowly eclipsing the 104-7 win for Namibia against Cayman Islands in 2009.

Right winger Kento Iioka ran in four tries for the three-time winners, whilst hooker Kenshin Shimizu also scored a hat-trick in the try-fest.

World Rugby U20 Trophy
Scotland U20
123 - 15
Samoa U20
All Stats and Data

However, the new record only stood for a few hours as Scotland clinically put Samoa to the sword in the third game of the day, bettering Japan’s try count by three in crossing the Islanders’ line on no less than 20 occasions in a huge 123-15 victory.

Winger Finlay Doyle and full-back Fergus Watson scored a hat-trick of tries apiece in a ruthless display of finishing from the Scots.

Scotland led 66-3 at half-time and didn’t let up, almost doubling their points tally after the break on their way to achieving the biggest margin of victory since the U20 Trophy began in 2008.

Having missed out on promotion back to the U20 Championship in 2023, Scotland are determined to right the wrongs at their home tournament and on this form they will take some stopping.


However, they will have to get past Japan first and there should be fireworks when the sides meet in the final round of the pool stage on Friday, July 12th.

In Pool B, 2023 beaten finalists Uruguay were far less convincing in their 25-7 win against Kenya.

Inside-centre Alfonso Perillo was Los Teritos’ standout performer and looks a future international-in-the-making with his strong ball carrying and strength in contact.

Perillo scored on the stroke of half-time as Uruguay led 15-0 but they didn’t kick on as expected and Kenya pulled seven points back before replacement front-rowers, Santiago Cagnone and Francisco Garcia, crashed over in the final 15 minutes.


The Netherlands’ debut match in the U20 Trophy ended in defeat but they can take pride in scoring five tries in another high-scoring encounter that ended 44-33 to the USA.

Openside Joris Smits scored a hat-trick for the Dutch but Keelan Farrell went one better for the Junior All-Americans who threatened to run away with it having gone into the break with a 41-12 lead.

However, come the final whistle, USA knew they’d been in a game as the Netherlands produced a brilliant second-half fightback.

After all that, the second round of the U20 Trophy on Sunday July 7th can’t come quick enough, and you can watch all the action live and exclusive on RugbyPass TV.

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Tom 17 minutes ago
All Blacks snatch another tight victory from England at Eden Park

First up to any of the ABs fans who accused us of “bluster” pre-series for saying it would be a competitive - I'm glad it turned out to be an excellent series to which the ABs were deserving winners and I hope next time a side tours you'll be a little more humble. I loved the heart shown by the English boys and how they managed to contain the AB attack for large parts of the series. Was very disappointed by the lack of cohesion and ambition ball in hand, we looked after the ball poorly and hardly went 2 phases without kicking it away. We're not giving ourselves enough opportunity to put phases together and build pressure. The ambition shown in the 6N against Ireland and France seems to have gone and our players look very hesitant with ball in hand, we look much better when Marcus is taking the ball flat and boys are running hard at the line. So frustrating when we're starting to build pressure in the 22 we go back to the grubber kick then find ourselves back on the half way line 10 seconds later. We've shown great success with our box kicking game but we need to leave the flipping grubber kick in the locker room. Like the Marcus Smith hail Mary miss pass that went straight to Mark Telea, we seem to have no patience. Sometimes we just need to recycle the ball and go again. Loving seeing Maro back to his best and Fin Baxter really impressed, Alex Mitchell looks to be one of the most complete 9s in world rugby, great around the base and impeccable kicking. Congrats to the ABs, far more dangerous and skillful than England. We contained you for large swathes but to shut down that amount of pace and skill for 80 mins is nigh on impossible. Managed to find a way to win and instinctively grabbed the rare opportunities which came your way. Finding ways to win in two tight test matches will I'm sure be a great experience for your younger players. Beauden needs to be in the starting 15, what a worldie.

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