Robertson Believes He Has Right Blend For Italian Job

Scotland under-19 head coach Colin Robertson has selected five Scottish Rugby Exiles in his starting line-up for the match against Italy at Lasswade on Sunday 1 March (kick off midday, free admission) and believes he has got the right blend in order to achieve a positive result.
 
Scrum half Alex Black (Leeds Carnegie), openside Callum Stidston-Knott (Harrow and London Wasps), lock Aaron Hall (Newcastle Falcons) and props Anthony Kent (London Wasps) and Andrew Fraser (Leeds Carnegie) have all been selected alongside 10 home-based players.
 
As a result, Robertson believes he has successfully meshed together the two groups which will stand the under-20 team of 2010 in good stead.

Robertson said: “I think we have done a fair bit of work with the Exiles programme in terms of identifying the best players and that dovetails pretty nicely into what we are trying to do with the home based players.
 
“There has been some progress made on that front and that bodes well for the under-20 programme next season.
 
“At this level, it is not just about generating confidence and momentum with the group by achieving positive results, but ensuring they are prepared for the demands of playing under-20 international rugby.”
 
One familiar name in the back division is Michael Tait – son of former Scotland and British Lion back Alan – and Robertson admits he has been impressed with the Kelso youngster.
 
He added: “Michael has trained well and has been consistent with his running lines and support play. I think he’ll definitely bring a positive edge to the back line.”
 
Another player who has caught his eye is back row forward Jason Hill and Robertson says he is looking forward to seeing the Stirling County No8 assert himself against Italy.
 
He said: “Jason was a slow starter in the under-18 programme last year. But he has come on very well this year and like Grant (Gilchrist), he has regular game-time at Stirling County.

“He is a big lad and he brings some size to the back row. He has got potential and it will be interesting to see how physical he is against the Italians.”
 
In terms of measuring up physically, Robertson acknowledges the key area where Scotland will need to front up will be by dominating the set-piece.
 
He said: “We have done some homework on Italy’s age group sides and they are really developing their game – right across the field.
 
“But their biggest strength is still the set piece, so the scrum and line-out is going to be huge for us on Sunday and the breakdown is where international games are won or lost.
 
“We have worked on that quite a lot and we will be looking to show how far we have progressed against the Italians.”
 
After being appointed captain, lock Grant Gilchrist says the honour has been the highlight of his career so far and now wants to follow in same path as ex-Stirling County second row Al Kellock by eventually progressing through to Scotland’s senior team.
 
Gilchrist said: “Being made captain is the highlight of my career so far and I’m really looking forward to leading the team against Italy.
 
“I haven’t worked with Al (Kellock) that much so far, but I’ve been inspired by what he has achieved in the game.
 
“He started out at Stirling County and has gone on to captain Glasgow Warriors and play for Scotland. So I would love to follow in his footsteps.”
 
Scotland under-19 squad (team sponsor Martin Currie) to face Italy (Sunday 1 March, midday) at Lasswade:
 
15 Tom Brown+ (Edinburgh Academicals)
 
14 Douglas Fife (Currie)
13 Michael Tait* (Kelso)
12 James Johnstone* (Watsonians)
11 Max Learmonth (Watsonians)
10 Ross Aitken* (Howe of Fife)
9 Alex Black (Leeds Carnegie)
 
1 Anthony Kent (London Wasps)
2 Alun Walker (Currie)
3 Andrew Fraser (Leeds Carnegie)
4 Grant Gilchrist* (Stirling County) CAPTAIN
5 Aaron Hall (Newcastle Falcons)
6 Michael Maltman* (Musselburgh)
7 Callum Stidston-Knott (London Wasps)
8 Jason Hill* (Stirling County)
 
16 Nicky Little* (Hawick)
17 Mungo Strachan (Edinburgh Rugby)
18 Matthew Reid (Heriot’s)
19 Ross Sutherland (Murrayfield Wanderers)
20 Kris Hamilton (Caithness)
21 Matthew Scott (Currie)
22 Seumas Mackenzie (Murrayfield Wanderers)
 
+ denotes National Academy Contracted Player
*denotes National Academy Area Institute Supported Player
 
Not considered due to injury: Callum Connor (Manchester University), Robert Harley (West of Scotland)+, Alex Blair (Edinburgh Accies)+, Alex Dunbar (Selkirk)+.