Scotland under-18 head coach Grant McKelvey congratulated his 26-man squad on a productive U18 Six Nations Festival in Cork even though the team ended up losing their final match 32-5 to England at Musgrave Park.Scotland under-18 head coach Grant McKelvey congratulated his 26-man squad on a productive U18 Six Nations Festival in Cork even though the team ended up losing their final match 32-5 to England at Musgrave Park.
After England had chalked up a huge 27-0 half-time lead, Scotland responded through a try from hooker Alun Walker.
Nevertheless following wins over France and Ireland during the three-game tournament, McKelvey believes the group of teenagers have benefited from the whole experience.
McKelvey said: "The Festival is development based and I think all 26 players have developed over the course of the tournament. Some have coped very well while playing under this level of scrutiny while others have not.
_x001C_But that is how this programme allows us to expose and develop players to an intense level of rugby. All 26 players will have left this programme having learned a lot.
_x001C_I think in the first half we really struggled with our accuracy and that gave England a lot of possession to keep us in the corners. We struggled to deal with the physicality; they were very well drilled in the contact areas and line-out. England out-muscled us in the first 20 minutes with driving mauls.
_x001C_The first half was a real learning curve for the boys, but I'm delighted to say they came around and in the second half it was 5-5.
_x001C_We can take a lot of positives out of that and the players learned a lot about the level of physicality needed and also about the need for accuracy; one missed tackle is absolutely crucial at this level."
Scotland: Sam Hughes (Merchiston Castle School), Max Learmonth (Berwick), Alex Blair (Edinburgh Academy), Alex Dunbar (Annan), Tom Brown (Edinburgh Academy)*, Ross Aitken (Bell Baxter/Howe of Fife)*, Alex Black (Prince Henry's School); Nicky Little (Hawick)*, Alun Walker (Musselburgh), Craig Owenson (Musselburgh)*, Grant Gilchrist (Stirling County), Robert Harley (West of Scotland)*, Jason Hill (Stirling County), Michael Maltman (Musselburgh), Stuart McInally (George Watson's College)* CAPTAIN
Substitutes: Mungo Strachan (Fettes College), Luke Pettie (Gala Wanderers), Andrew Fraser (York), Callum Connor (Bradford Grammar), Ross Sutherland (Sandbach), Michael Fedo (Bell Baxter/Howe of Fife), Russell Weir (Merchiston Castle School), Michael Tait (Kelso Quins)*, Jamie Harris (Merchiston Castle School), Seumas MacKenzie (Murrayfield Wanderers), Rory Drummond (Bell Baxter HS), Jamie Harris (Merchiston Castle School)
*Member of Scottish Rugby's National Junior Academy and supported by Area Institute of Sport.