Scotland under-20 head coach Colin Robertson this afternoon named his 26-man squad for next month's IRB Junior World Championship in Wales and has freshened up his team with five new faces.Scotland under-20 head coach Colin Robertson this afternoon named his 26-man squad for next month's IRB Junior World Championship in Wales and has freshened up his team with five new faces.
After missing the 6 Nations through injury, prop Joe Stafford has been included alongside Scotland's under-19 Player of the Season, scrum half Peter Jericevich, hooker Niall Shannon, full-back Peter Horne and flanker Andrew Rose in the squad.
Scotland will face Samoa (Friday, 6 June, kick off 7pm), South Africa (Tuesday, 10 June, kick off 7pm) and USA (Saturday, 14 June, kick off 3pm) at Wrexham's Racecourse Ground and Robertson believes his new-look side will rise to the occasion.
Robertson said: "We have done our homework on all three teams and we are aiming to cause an impact. We have added a bit of competition to the squad.
_x001C_We have been looking at these guys to try and add some different skills to the squad. But it is still four fifths of the squad that played in the 6 Nations.
_x001C_Joe (Stafford) has been out for literally the whole season as a result of injury. He is one of our Senior National Academy players and he has worked very hard to get back from that injury.
_x001C_He did very well for the under-19s last year so we are hoping he will recreate that form this year.
_x001C_Richie (Gray) was with us in Italy during the 6 Nations and he is a big second row. He will help us in certain areas in terms of his sheer physicality.
_x001C_Peter (Jericevich) was the Player of the Year for the under-19s and he is a sharp scrum half; he will add certain qualities to the squad.
_x001C_Peter Horne has experienced a good season and he has got good footwork, so he will ask a few questions of defenders. Niall has also been in the squad before and has shown credible skills.
_x001C_Also Andrew (Rose) brings a combative style to the back row and will prove to be a useful addition to the pack."
Back rower Lewis Calder, 20, continues to captain the team with chief playmaker Ruaridh Jackson assigned the role of vice captain.
Meanwhile, both Josh Brown (ankle) and Fraser Brown (neck) were ruled out for the 16-team tournament through injury.
Despite experiencing a winless run during the 6 Nations, Robertson believes his young team have learned a massive amount which they will be aiming to put to good use over the course of the Junior World Championship.
He added: _x001C_We have planned and prepared well following the 6 Nations and we have set clear goals for the World Championship.
_x001C_Our preparation game against Ireland this week (Friday 23 May, kick off 6pm, Ravenhill) is ideal leading into our first game against Samoa.
_x001C_Looking back at the 6 Nations, we should have beaten France, we played very well against Ireland and narrowly lost against Italy, so the results didn't really reflect some good performances.
_x001C_So even though we lost all our 6 Nations games there is a real buzz among the players. World Championships are massive events and with five games played every four days it will be a big challenge for us.
_x001C_But it will be one which we, as a group, are very excited about. The programme we have undergone at RM Condor (the Commando camp in Arbroath) will stand us in good stead - this is something we have looked at and planned for._x001D_
Scotland face Samoa, the USA and South Africa in the pool stages and Robertson says his team intends to step up to the mark in terms of physicality for the matches.
He said: _x001C_I think all the games are going to be physical. In fact, I think the USA game will be really physical as well because they have got a strong development programme in America.
_x001C_We realise South Africa will be an outstanding side and very physical. Also the Samoan team will be very strong as well, but we are aware of that.
_x001C_The tournament promises to be a genuine challenge for the players and if we can generate some momentum then it should develop into a hugely memorable experience for everyone involved._x001D_
Scotland under-20 squad (team sponsor Martin Currie) for the IRB Junior World Championship in June (all Pool matches to be staged at the Racecourse Ground, Wrexham)
Backs: Murray Allan (Loughborough University), Tom Bury (Boroughmuir and National Junior Academy), Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Hawks and National Senior Academy), Lee Jones (Selkirk), Chris Kinloch (Edinburgh Academicals and National Senior Academy), Paul Loudon (Durham University), Stephen McColl (Dunfermline and National Senior Academy), Jamie Murray (Leeds Carnegie and Edinburgh Academicals), Peter Horne (Howe of Fife), Peter Jericevich (GHA and National Senior Academy), Steven Wilson (Dundee HSFP and National Junior Academy), Ross Samson (Newcastle Falcons).
Forwards: Jonny Baird (Watsonians), Steven Burton (Currie), Lewis Calder (Newcastle Falcons, CAPTAIN), Angus Dixon (Aberdeen Grammar FP), Adrian Duncan (Stewart's-Melville FP and National Senior Academy), Fraser McKenzie (Heriot's and National Senior Academy), Lewis Niven (Edinburgh Academicals), Neale Patrick (Dunfermline), Gary Strain (Glasgow Hawks and National Junior Academy), Craig Simmonds (Heriot's), Joe Stafford (Hillhead/Jordanhill and National Senior Academy), Richie Gray (Stirling County and National Senior Academy), Andrew Rose (Gloucester), Niall Shannon (Aberdeen Grammar FP).