Scotland under-17 ran in five second half tries against Portugal in the Somerset sunshine at the Millfield international rugby festival today. A try in the second minute from right wing Harry Mountain gave Scotland the early lead and the confidence to play expansive rugby.
However, despite some good defending against an enthusiastic Portugal side, the young Scots showed their inexperience as they failed to capitalise on the early lead - and were perhaps guilty of trying too many risky offloads as they chased a second score. Portugal were then allowed back into the game following a Scottish offside at a ruck and duly kicked the three points to go in at half time still very much in the game.
Half time: 7-3
After the break, the Scots turned out an entirely different performance, playing with much more discipline than the first half, maintaining long spells of possession and running the ball through several phases and importantly wearing their opposition down.
Scotland's ability to keep the ball provided good positions to attack from, which resulted in a flurry of tries - a second half brace from left wing, Grant Sommerville and open-side flanker, Grant Runciman, and a try from prop, Ross Turner earned the Scots their first victory of the tournament. The Scots tally was completed by stand-off, Greagor Hunter, with three conversions.
Final Score: 36-3
Scotland U17 head coach, Bryan Easson, said: "The first half was disappointing as we lacked the composure to take control of the game; we were trying a little too hard to score too early.
“The game was a perfect example of how important it is to keep the ball in international rugby."
Scotland under-17 face France in their final match of the tournament on Saturday (5 April). Kick-off is at 4pm.
Easson added: “France are pretty strong at all age groups so it’ll be a tough test for the boys. They’ve certainly learned a lot from the past two games, if we can take the positives from the Wales and Portugal game into the France game then I think we’ll have a good chance of ending this tournament on a high.”
15 Glenn Bryce (Stirling County)
14 Harry Mountain (Gordonstoun)
13 Danny Gilmour (Stirling County)
12 Courtenay Morrison (Dollar Academy)
11 Grant Sommerville (George Watson’s College)
10 Gregor Hunter (Gala Wanderers)
9 Sean Kennedy (Clackmannanshire Colts)
1 Ross Turner (Fettes College)
2 Peter Forrest (Selkirk Youth Club)
3 Duncan Morrison (Sedbergh School)
4 Robert McAlpine (Glasgow Academy)
5 Callum Evans (George Watson’s College)
6 Cammy Orr CAPTAIN (Dumfries)
7 Grant Runciman (Melrose Wasps)
8 Callum Wishart (Dollar Academy)
U17 management Team
Rob Charters - team manager
Bryan Easson - head coach
Gordon Henderson - assistant coach
Mark Appleson - assistant coach
Iain Cleland - conditioning coach
Kate Morris - physiotherapist
John Turvil - doctor
Roddy Deans - video analyst
Note: All 26 members of the Scotland U17 have now started a game in the international festival.