Scotland and Glasgow Warriorsâ€™ stand-off Dan Parks has backed Scotland Under-19 stand-off Ruaridh Jackson following the young Scotâ€™s first appearance on the scoresheet in the IRB Under 19 World Championship earlier this week as he kicked two penalties to beat Fiji 11-7 on Tuesday. On the up and coming star, Parks said: â€œRuaridh has had a great year. Heâ€™s very mature for his age and Iâ€™m sure the experiences he has had recently will be good for his game."Scotland and Glasgow Warriorsâ€™ stand-off Dan Parks has backed Scotland Under-19 stand-off Ruaridh Jackson following the young Scotâ€™s first appearance on the scoresheet in the IRB Under 19 World Championship earlier this week as he kicked two penalties to beat Fiji 11-7 on Tuesday.
The Scots are preparing for their final match in the championship tomorrow as they take on host Ireland (Ravenhill, 3pm) for the second time, having been pipped 13-12 in the second pool match earlier this month by a try in the dying seconds. Tomorrowâ€™s winners will finish ninth overall in the championship.
Jackson has been selected once again at stand-off for the match having been picked there in the opening 11-6 loss to France, the agonising defeat to Ireland, the 25-23 loss to Fiji in the pools and the 11-7 victory over the Fijians in the fourth round earlier this week.
Scottish Rugbyâ€™s head of player development Henry Edwards is in Belfast for Scotlandâ€™s final match. He said: â€œThe squad have been more competitive this year and the fact that they had a chance of winning all three pool matches shows progress to me. They had a good win over Fiji this week and now have a chance to turn Ireland over having come so close previously.â€
Jackson is a member of the Glasgow Warriors squad and has been training with them throughout the season. He made his debut for the club off the bench, kicking two conversions, in the 69-7 win over Gran Parma in the European Challenge Cup in late October.
He has also played for Scotland 7s this year at the IRB tournaments in Dubai and South Africa and represented Scotland with Robert Gordonâ€™s College at the Four Nationsâ€™ Rugby Sevens in Portsmouth in the summer of 2006, having won the inaugural Royal Navy Schools Sevens at Murrayfield earlier that year.
On the up and coming star, Parks said: â€œRuaridh has had a great year. Heâ€™s very mature for his age and Iâ€™m sure the experiences he has had recently will be good for his game. Heâ€™s got a lot going for him and Iâ€™m sure weâ€™ll see a lot more of him in the future.
â€œRuaridh has an excellent boot on him and he has the ability to control the back line with quick decisions and accurate passes. I was pleased to see he got a chance to show his kicking ability this week against Fiji and hopefully heâ€™ll help the team to another win tomorrow against Ireland,â€ he added.
Scotland Under-19 coach Peter Wright is equally impressed with Jackson. He said: â€œHe has shown real maturity in this tournament, which is something you don't always get at this level. If situations don't go as planned he works hard to make the next decision work for the team. I'm sure the exposure he's had to the pro-game has helped him with this and made him the player he is now."
Wright has made just two changes to the side that beat Fiji on Tuesday as prop Gary Strain returns to the front row while inside centre Stephen McColl has shaken off a minor niggle to regain his berth.
Wright said: â€œThere has been some unbelievable work from our physio Louise Wright and doctor Brian Walker to keep these players going through this tournament. Itâ€™s so physically demanding that each game takes its toll but we go into this game with our strongest team.
â€œLike the second match against Fiji, this is another game thatâ€™s been that little bit easier to prepare for because thereâ€™s nothing new about the opposition weâ€™re facing. Weâ€™ve got the motivation of knowing we lost the first game when we really should have won and weâ€™re taking on the hosts in front of what will be a partisan crowd at Ravenhill.
â€œItâ€™s a chance for us to avenge the result from the pool match and in doing so finish ninth in the championship. Weâ€™ve had good training sessions this week and the boys are really looking forward to this match tomorrow,â€ he added.
IRB Under 19 World Championship rules permit teams to bench all 11 remaining squad members and make up to seven substitutions during the match.
SCOTLAND UNDER-19 TEAM TO PLAY IRELAND
15 Murray Allan (Stewart's Melville FP)
14 Lee Jones (Selkirk)
13 Chris Kinloch (Fettes College/Edinburgh Academicals and ESIS)*
12 Stephen McColl (Dunfermline and TFIS)*
11 Tom Bury (Edinburgh Academicals)
10 Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors, Cartha Queens Park and WSIS)*
9 Matthew Heeks (London Scottish and St Maryâ€™s Twickenham)
1 Gary Strain (Dalziel)
2 Adrian Duncan (Stewart's Melville FP)
3 Joe Stafford (Glasgow Warriors, Hillhead/Jordanhill and WSIS)*
4 Neale Patrick (Dunfermline)
5 Josh Brown (Bristol/Filton College)
6 Fraser McKenzie (Edinburgh Rugby, Dunfermline and TFIS)* CAPTAIN
7 Steven Burton (Currie)
8 Alexandre Wukovits (BÃ¨gles Bordeaux)
FORWARDS: Kevin Bryce (Glasgow Warriors, Stirling County and CIS)*, Craig Charters (Hawick), Angus Dixon (Aberdeen GSFP), Ralph McInally (Perthshire), Lewis Niven (Edinburgh Academicals/Trinity Academicals), Craig Simmonds (Dalziel)
BACKS: Ruairidh Bonner (Edinburgh Academicals), Harry Duthie (Harrogate), James Murray (Edinburgh Academicals), Redha Guedroudj (Aberdeen GSFP), Ross Samson (Newcastle Falcons/Tynedale)
* = National Academy player
ESIS â€“ East of Scotland Institute of Sport
TFIS â€“ Tayside & Fife Institute of Sport
WSIS â€“ West of Scotland Institute of Sport
CIS â€“ Central Institute of Sport