Calder Aiming To Follow Family'S Fortunes

Lewis Calder will captain the Scotland Under-20 team against their French counterparts at Falkirk Stadium on Friday evening (1 February, 2008, kick off 7.30pm) and the openside flanker revealed he is aiming to use the advice given by his father, former Grand Slam winner Jim. As the son of a player who scored the decisive try in Scotland's 1984 Grand Slam triumph against France, Calder boasts a top-class rugby pedigree and was appointed captain by coach Colin Robertson for the Under-20’s Six Nations tournament.Lewis Calder will captain the Scotland Under-20 team against their French counterparts at Falkirk Stadium on Friday evening (1 February, 2008, kick off 7.30pm) and the openside flanker revealed he is aiming to use the advice given by his father, former Grand Slam winner Jim.

As the son of a player who scored the decisive try in Scotland's 1984 Grand Slam triumph against France, Calder boasts a top-class rugby pedigree and was appointed captain by coach Colin Robertson for the Under-20’s Six Nations tournament.

And the Newcastle Falcons’ Academy player, 19, admits he will be seeking some tips from his famous Uncle, Finlay, who led the victorious British and Irish Lions in 1989, on how to lead a successful team.

Calder said: “I’ve not spoken too much to my uncle about the aspects of being a captain, but I will probably try and have a quick word with him and pick up some tips before Friday.

“It is a massive privilege and when JJ (team manager John Jeffrey) phoned me my first reaction was that it was a huge honour.

“Fraser (McKenzie) who has captained the side for the past couple of years has done a really good job. They are pretty big shoes to fill, but it is something that I’m really looking forward to. I like to be talkative on the pitch.

“My dad’s advice on rugby has been really helpful and now it's really good to be able to bounce ideas off him.

“So much of the game seems to be the same; fundamental stuff like making tackles and giving passes. He has been through it all and that type of advice is really good to have.”

Calder acknowledges his famous family tree has enabled him to receive a first-class rugby education and revealed the connection also extends to Scotland and Glasgow No8 Johnnie Beattie; the son of ex-Scotland international John.

He added: “When I was growing up, at family occasions the chat would always just be about rugby. I never realised that was unusual until I visited friend’s houses.

“At Christmas get-togethers everybody would be talking about rugby, especially because we are also second cousins with the Beattie’s as well.”

Head coach Robertson highlighted Calder’s ability to lead from the front and believes his new captain has got all the necessary traits to inspire his talented side.

Robertson said: “Lewis has got a lot of qualities. We are looking for a certain type of leadership that will help us and you have got to lead by performance; Lewis does that.

“But first and foremost for me, it is not just about individuals, but about the team gelling together and progressing collectively. We are really positive and the boys are really up for the first game.

“It is an exciting time because it is a massive challenge; there are ten Test matches on the schedule this year, culminating in the Under-20 World Cup in Wales in June.

“I’m looking for Test-match performances from each individual against France and I believe it will be an ideal opening game.”

Team manager John Jeffrey, another Grand Slam winning back rower, believes there are definite similarities between Calder junior and his father and says the teenager was the right player to lead the under-20 side.

Jeffrey said: “Lewis plays in the same position as his father did; as a wing forward, but he is an out-and-out openside flanker.

“Hopefully he will have the same future in the game as his father did; that is a challenge for him.

“But he has a very mature head on good shoulders and he deserves to captain the side. He is a good leader.”

Jeffrey notes there's a sense of anticipation in the squad ahead of Friday's opening game. He added: “There is a huge sense of excitement with the boys at the moment. The momentum has been built and the boys are now just desperate to get going.

“It is going to be the start of a long season; we have got five games in the Six Nations and then five games in the World Cup. So this is just the start of it.

“We always get good support there and the boys get a big lift whenever they play at Falkirk. The fans get a chance to come along and get to see tomorrow’s stars.

“For example, the boys who have played at Falkirk for the under-20’s in the past few seasons at Falkirk include the likes of Nick De Luca, Ross Ford, Johnnie Beattie and John Barclay.”

Scotland under-20 squad to play France at The Falkirk Stadium (Friday 1 February, kick-off 7.30pm)


15 Murray Allan (Loughborough University)

14 Tom Bury (Boroughmuir and National Junior Academy)
13 Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Hawks and National Senior Academy)
12 Stephen McColl (Dunfermline and National Junior Academy)
11 Chris Kinloch (Edinburgh Academicals and National Senior Academy)

10 James Murray (Leeds Carnegie and Edinburgh Academicals)
9 Ross Samson (Newcastle Falcons)

1 Gary Strain (Glasgow Hawks and National Junior Academy)
2 Adrian Duncan (Stewart’s-Melville FP and National Senior Academy)
3 Lewis Niven (Edinburgh Academicals)
4 Josh Brown (Bristol)
5 Neale Patrick (Dunfermline)
6 Fraser McKenzie (Heriot’s and National Senior Academy)
8 Jonny Baird (Leicester University)
7 Lewis Calder (captain, Newcastle Falcons)

Substitutes: Fraser Brown (Biggar), Angus Dixon (Aberdeen Grammar Rugby), Adam Ferrier (Blackheath), Craig Charters (Hawick), Steven Burton (Currie), Matthew Heeks (London Scottish), Lee Jones (Selkirk).

The game will be staged at The Falkirk Stadium, Westfield, Falkirk FK2 9DX. Ticket prices: £10 (adults), £5 (concessions, OAPS, students and under-18’s). Tickets can be purchased online at www.scottishrugby.org or alternatively on the turnstile.