Scotland under 18 head coach Grant McKelvey admits he is excited ahead of the start of the team's six-match season when his players face England A at Melrose on Sunday, 2 March, kick off midday and believes a 'rollercoaster ride' awaits the nation's next generation of talent.Scotland under 18 head coach Grant McKelvey admits he is excited ahead of the start of the team's six-match season when his players face England A at Melrose on Sunday, 2 March, kick off midday and believes a 'rollercoaster ride' awaits the nation's next generation of talent.
After the completion of the U18 Inter District Championship, McKelvey has named a 25-man squad for a six-game campaign which includes the 6 Nations Festival of Rugby set to be staged in Cork in late March (24 March - 1 April).
A further 26th player will be added later on in the week after two medical assessments scheduled to take place later in the week.
Now McKelvey revealed he is looking forward to developing the next batch of youngsters who can eventually make an impact at senior level.
McKelvey said: "I am really excited about identifying and developing the next round of players who will hopefully become world-class performers for Scotland.
"But we are fully aware that a huge test awaits the squad and that it will be a roller-coaster for all of them; both physically and emotionally.
"There will be up's and down's along the way, but this is all part of their collective development as rugby players.
"We are identifying players who will hopefully move up to represent the under-20's and then hopefully even get involved with the senior squad at future World Cups.
"This campaign is all about monitoring performance levels with all players charged with the responsibility of raising their own standards.
"This programme promises to be a tremendous experience for these boys. We will be working extremely hard to develop these young players in a high pressured environment and we look forward to testing ourselves against the best U18 teams in Europe.
"The preparation work will continue over the next three weeks before we travel to Cork and we will look to play a very exciting brand of rugby that will allow all of our players to develop."
Scotland under-18 squad for the 2008 season:
Forwards: Nicky Little (Hawick)*, Craig Owenson (Musselburgh)*, Andrew Fraser (York), Luke Pettie (Gala Wanderers), Mungo Strachan (Fettes College), Alun Walker (Musselburgh), Robert Harley (West of Scotland)*, Grant Gilchrist (Stirling County), Michael Maltman (Musselburgh), Michael Fedo (Bell Baxter / Howe of Fife), Stuart McInally (George Watsons College)*, Ross Sutherland (Sandbach)
Jason Hill (Stirling County)
Backs: Alex Black (Prince Henry's School), Russell Weir (Merchiston Castle School), Alex Blair (Edinburgh Academy), Ross Aitken (Bell Baxter / Howe of Fife)*, Sam Hughes (Merchiston Castle School), Alec Dunbar (Annan), Michael Tait (Kelso Quins)*, Max Learmonth (Berwick), Jamie Harris (Merchiston Castle School), Rory Drummond (Bell Baxter / Howe of Fife), Seamus McKenzie (Murrayfield Wanderers), Tom Brown (Edinburgh Academy)*.
* denotes member of Scottish Rugby's National Junior Academy and supported by Area Institute of Sport.