Mckelvey Rings Changes For Ireland Clash

Scotland under-18 head coach Grant McKelvey has made 11 changes to the team that defeated France in the opening match of the U18 Six Nations Festival for tomorrow's (29 March, kick off 2.30pm) match against Ireland at Musgrave Park because he believes it will aid the squad's overall development.Scotland under-18 head coach Grant McKelvey has made 11 changes to the team that defeated France in the opening match of the U18 Six Nations Festival for tomorrow's (29 March, kick off 2.30pm) match against Ireland at Musgrave Park because he believes it will aid the squad's overall development.

Captain Stuart McInally remains in the back row, Robert Harley continues at lock, Alex Dunbar retains his spot at inside centre while he is joined in midfield by Alex Blair, who moves across the back line from stand-off.

As part of the Festival rules, every member of each squad has to start at least one game of the three-match tournament; a philosophy that tallies with Scotland's development programme.

McKelvey said: "This was always going to be the plan and is part of the overall development process.

_x001C_Our selection strategy is to expose and develop all 26 players in our squad in a match environment as soon as possible.

_x001C_We have worked hard on analysing our performance against France. We have identified specific areas that we need to improve on and we will work hard on that in the build-up to the game.

_x001C_We know we are up for another huge test; both physically and mentally."

McKelvey also believes the fact that the team are set to perform in front of an expected bumper crowd at Musgrave Park will play a valuable part in their overall education as rugby players.

He said: _x001C_It is another learning process for the players. They would never have played in front of a crowd as big as the one expected on Saturday.

_x001C_The Ireland versus Wales in mid-week pulled in a crowd of 3,000; even though it was played in pretty horrible conditions.

_x001C_So we are expecting a crowd of 4,500 on a Saturday afternoon in Cork. That will be a challenge that the boys will need to overcome. We can help them with that, but ultimately it is down to them to deal with that pressure._x001D_



Scotland under-18 team (sponsor Martin Currie) to play Ireland at Musgrave Park (Saturday 29 March, kick-off 2.30pm)

15 Tom Brown (Edinburgh Academy)
14 Rory Drummond (Bell Baxter HS)
13 Alex Blair (Edinburgh Academy)
12 Alex Dunbar (Annan)
11Seumas MacKenzie (Murrayfield Wanderers)
10 Ross Aitken (Bell Baxter/Howe of Fife)*
9 Alex Black (Prince Henry's School)

1 Luke Pettie (Gala Wanderers)
2 Alun Walker (Musselburgh)
3 Nicky Little (Hawick)* Andrew Fraser (York)
4 Callum Connor (Bradford Grammar)
5 Robert Harley (West of Scotland)*
6 Michael Maltman (Musselburgh)
7 Michael Fedo (Bell Baxter/Howe of Fife)
8 Stuart McInally (George Watson's College)* CAPTAIN

Substitutes:, Mungo Strachan (Fettes College), Craig Owenson (Musselburgh)*, Andrew Fraser (York), Grant Gilchrist (Stirling County), Jason Hill (Stirling County), Ross Sutherland (Sandbach), Russell Weir (Merchiston Castle School), Michael Tait (Kelso Quins)*, Jamie Harris (Merchiston Castle School), Max Learmonth (Berwick), Sam Hughes (Merchiston Castle School).

*Member of Scottish Rugby's National Junior Academy and supported by Area Institute of Sport.