Robertson Aims For Further Progress

Scotland under-20 head coach Colin Robertson admits he believes his team can carry the impressive form shown during the second half of their 6 Nations opener into the match against Wales on Friday (8 February, 2008, kick off 7.30pm). Despite ending up losing 12-6 to France at Falkirk last Friday (1 February), Scotland staged a heroic comeback in the second half and stopped France from adding any further points.Scotland under-20 head coach Colin Robertson admits he believes his team can carry the impressive form shown during the second half of their 6 Nations opener into the match against Wales on Friday (8 February, 2008, kick off 7.30pm).

Despite ending up losing 12-6 to France at Falkirk last Friday (1 February), Scotland staged a heroic comeback in the second half and stopped France from adding any further points.

As a result, Robertson is optimistic about Scotland's chances of achieving a positive result at Rodney Parade if his team can show the same level of commitment and character.

Robertson said: _x001C_France didn't score a point in the second half because we pressurised them. That means we take a lot of encouragement into the game against Wales.

_x001C_The fact is that we ran France close and if one or two things had gone our way in the second half then it may have been a different story.

_x001C_It goes back to the need for us to put together an 80-minute performance and that is what we have been focusing on ahead of the Wales match._x001D_

Robertson has reshuffled the back row ahead of the trip to Newport with Craig Simmonds replacing Jonny Baird, who is ruled out with blurred vision, at the base of the scrum.

And the head coach highlighted the No 8's physical presence as the chief attribute he will bring to the pack on Friday.

He added: _x001C_He is a big lad and his size will add something to our pack. He is with Heriot's and he has been in and out of their first XV.

_x001C_We have monitored his progress and he has been at a number of sessions already._x001D_

National Junior Academy back Steven Wilson has also been named amongst the replacements and Robertson says the player will be a sound addition to the squad.

He said: _x001C_We have also named one of our under-19 players, Steven Wilson on the bench. We know him really well and he will provide excellent cover for us in terms of the midfield._x001D_

Robertson understands the sheer magnitude of the task that awaits his troops on Friday but believes playing in front of a partisan Welsh crowd will aid the side's overall rugby education.

He said: _x001C_The Welsh are always strong and always produce a number of good players through their system.


"They like to play rugby and keep the ball off the ground. We have done a lot of homework on them, so we are well aware of what they can offer.

_x001C_It is part of their development; not just learning about how to play the game, but also having to deal with the atmosphere of playing Test rugby away from home.

_x001C_But we have got a number of guys who have played in 7s in front of 35,000, so they have got that experience which is important at this level._x001D_

Team manager John Jeffrey was also pleased with the team's second half showing against France and hopes the side will get off to a more enterprising start against Wales.

Jeffrey said: _x001C_It took us about 30 minutes to get going and at that point were quite a few points adrift, but then we played well in the second half.

_x001C_Despite playing poorly in the first half, we won the second half 3-0 and we could have beaten France for the first time in our history at that level.

_x001C_It is important that we get off to a good start because crowds in Wales are always very passionate and vociferous.

_x001C_We need to make sure we do better in the set-piece because that was a disappointment against France and we have got to get our hands on the ball._x001D_

Scotland under-20 squad to play Wales at Rodney Parade, Newport (Friday 8 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 Craig Simmonds (Heriot's)
7 Lewis Calder (captain, Newcastle Falcons)

Substitutes: Fraser Brown (Biggar), Angus Dixon (Aberdeen Grammar Rugby), Craig Charters (Hawick), Steven Burton (Currie), Matthew Heeks (London Scottish), Steven Wilson (Dundee HSFP and National Junior Academy), Lee Jones (Selkirk).