Head coach of the Scotland under-18s, Grant McKelvey, today announced the first training squad of the 2008/2009 Scotland under-18 season. Twenty-four players remain from the Scotland under-17 side that defeated Portugal (36-3) and France (20-11) at the Millfield Festival this spring - Duncan Weir (Cambuslang)* and Chris Bloomfield (Hymers College) missing out on the first stage of selection through injury.Head coach of the Scotland under-18s, Grant McKelvey, today announced the first training squad of the 2008/2009 Scotland under-18 season.
Twenty-four players remain from the Scotland under-17 side that defeated Portugal (36-3) and France (20-11) at the Millfield Festival this spring - Duncan Weir (Cambuslang)* and Chris Bloomfield (Hymers College) missing out on the first stage of selection through injury.
An under-17s squad of 30 players then spent a fortnight in Valladolid on a strength and conditioning / rugby camp which signalled their promotion to the under-18s set up.
A further six new faces make up the 38 strong age-grade squad who will all now be monitored closely by the national management and performance development teams between now and the next squad camp on 27 and 28 December. The players will then move into their respective inter-district championship programs with matches in February & March 09.
McKelvey, said: "This is a reference point for us after all the work that we have done with the squad in Valladolid and is a good opportunity for us to compare, contrast and expose the new players to the programme and to measure the development of players who have been in the programme through involvement in the 17s."
_x001C_The 17s and 18s programmes work really closely together. The 17s programme introduces the key principles and the building blocks to the players and in the 18s programme we develop these principles and make them slightly more complicated and challenge the players a bit more - for us this isn't session number one this is session number 30-something because we take into consideration all the under-17 sessions, the sessions that took place in Valladolid and all the sessions at the Struan performance rugby camp in the summer._x001D_
_x001C_We're pretty positive about this squad, they've shown us that they can perform at a level but all that gives us now is a reference point to measure their progress, it's absolutely irrelevant now in terms of what they do when they're in the 18s or in two or three years time if they're good enough to represent the 20s.
_x001C_What happened this time last year is now irrelevant, what they did last year performance wise will not be acceptable now, that's going to be our mantra._x001D_
After September, further selections/deselections will take place after players performances both in Scotland and within the Scottish Exiles programme have been assessed.
The final squad of 26 will then be selected following the under-18 inter-district championships and will begin preparations for the 2009 under-18 Six Nations festival in Parma, Italy next April.
Scotland Under 18 Squad
Duncan Morrison (London Wasps), George Hunter (Robert Gordon's), Neil Kiltie (Robert Gordon's), Josh Low (St Aloysius College/GHA), Ross Turner (Fettes College), Mathew Bradford (Allan Glens), David Cherry (Merchiston Castle School), Richard Ferguson (Melrose Wasps), Peter Forrest (Selkirk YC), Greg Jones (Robert Gordon's), Luke Morrow (Merchiston Castle School), Callum Evans (George Watson's College), Robert McAlpine (The Glasgow Academy)*, Callum McKenzie (Dunfermline), Cameron Orr (Boroughmuir), Andrew Kirkland (Glasgow Hawks)*, Grant Runciman (Melrose Wasps), Duncan Finnie (George Watsons College), Jordan Kynoch (Stewart's Melville), Callum Wishart (Dollar), Alex Spence (Haddington), Robbie Boswell (Stirling County)
Lewis Crosbie (Dollar Academy), Sean Kennedy (Stirling County), Steven Turnbull (East Kilbride), Gregor Hunter (Gala Wanderers/Gala Academy)*, Stuart Edwards (Stirling County), Danny Gilmour (Stirling County)*, Henry Oliver (Merchiston Castle School), Courtney Morrison (Dollar Academy), Sam Atkin (Haddington), Craig Robertson (Gala Wanderers/Gala Academy), Harry Mountain (Merchiston Castle School), Grant Somerville (George Watson's College), Glen Bryce (Stirling County), Ollie Taylor (Robert Gordon's), Ally Stevenson (Whitecraigs), Jamie Anderson (Heriot's)
* denotes members of National Academy supported by AIS (Area Institute of Sport)