Physicality Key To 6 Nations Preparation

Scotland under-20 coach Eamon John believes that exposure to the physicality of full-time professionals has been good preparation for the up and coming 6 Nations, despite heavy losses to both pro outfits.

In the bitter cold and snow, the youngsters sustained considerable pressure, defending doggedly to go in just three points adrift at the break however, 20 minutes into the second half, their defensive efforts had taken their toll and Edinburgh ran in six second-half tries to win 39-0 at Lasswade.

Scotland under-20 coach Eamon John believes that exposure to the physicality of full-time professionals has been good preparation for the up and coming 6 Nations, despite heavy losses to both pro outfits.

In the bitter cold and snow, the youngsters sustained considerable pressure, defending doggedly to go in just three points adrift at the break however, 20 minutes into the second half, their defensive efforts had taken their toll and Edinburgh ran in six second-half tries to win 39-0 at Lasswade.

23-year-old playmaker, David Blair, crossed the whitewash, scored a penalty and slotted three conversions while Ben Meyer, Stevie Swindall, Roland Reid, Steve Lawrie and Innes Brown also dotted down.

Scotland under-20 head coach, Eamon John, said: “We came up against a very experienced Edinburgh side today. We defended very well for the first 60 minutes but as the game wore on the guys tired. You just can’t keep defending like that for a whole game.

“We purposefully took the choice to play the pro back-up sides to expose the players to bigger and stronger teams and believe that decision was the right one.

“As we move into the January camp this Friday we’ll be looking at the taking the positives from the first-half of the Glasgow game [which featured several players who later in the week defeated last year’s Heineken Cup finalists, Toulouse]  and the defensive efforts from today’s game.”

Scotland begin their 6 Nations against Wales on 7 February, 2009 – details will be announced at a press conference on Thursday (10am).

Scotland under-20 squad:
David Morton (Bridgwater and Albion), Callum McConnachie (Hillhead/Jordanhill), Gavin Cameron (Stirling County), Douglas Orr (Haddington), Fraser Brown (Watsonians), Finlay Gillies (Heriot’s), Ryan McConnell (Peebles), Richie Gray (Glasgow Warriors), Nick Campbell (Glasgow Hawks), James Taylor (Loughborough University), Chris Fusaro (Heriot’s), Neil Rodger (Haddington), Tom Drennan (Edinburgh Academicals), Struan Dewar (Heriot’s), Peter Jericevich (Glasgow Hawks), Henry Pyrgos (Wimbourne), Cameron Brown (Loughborough University), Andrew White (Glasgow Hawks), Robbie McGowan (Stirling County), Robbie Johnston (Leeds University and Leeds Carnegie), Paul Loudon (Durham University and Edinburgh Accies), Ashleigh McCulloch (Aberdeen Grammar), Grant Anderson (Ayr), Adam McKenzie (Darlington Mowden Park and Northumbria University), Peter Horne (West of Scotland)

Edinburgh Rugby back-up squad:
Edinburgh: Thompson; Teague, MacRae, Easson, Reid, D. Blair, Meyer (captain); McNeil, Crombie, Brown (National Academy and Heriot’s), Patrick (National Academy and Heriot’s), Nimmo (Heriot’s), Bryce (Stirling County), Roddy Grant (National Academy), McInally (National Academy and Watsonians).
Replacements: Lawrie, Niven (National Academy and Edinburgh Academicals), Shields (Kelso), Galbraith (Stirling County), Hill (Stirling County), McVie (Selkirk), Hutton (National Academy and Hawick), Dey, Wilson (Stirling County), Bury (Boroughmuir)