Highland Hoorah As Scotland Go North

- Supporters welcome more free Scotland games -

Scotland under-20 will open their 2010 6 Nations campaign in the Highlands.

The match against France under-20 will take place at the home of Inverness Caley Thistle, Caledonian Stadium, on Friday 5 February (kick-off 7.30pm) and, in keeping with the initiative launched by Scottish Rugby last season, admission will be free for all.

Adding interest to the tie is the prospect of seeing young Caithness scrum-half, Kris Hamilton, swapping his club’s green and yellow for the blue of Scotland, following his selection in the initial age-grade squad.

Kris Hamilton supported by Highland DO Alan Falconer and Culloden Academy pupils
Scotland under-20 will open their 2010 6 Nations campaign in the Highlands.

The match against France under-20 will take place at the home of Inverness Caley Thistle, Caledonian Stadium, on Friday 5 February (kick-off 7.30pm) and, in keeping with the initiative launched by Scottish Rugby last season, admission will be free for all.

Adding interest to the tie is the prospect of seeing young Caithness scrum-half, Kris Hamilton, swapping his club’s green and yellow for the blue of Scotland, following his selection in the initial age-grade squad.

Speaking from today’s announcement at the Stadium, Hamilton [pictured front left] said: “Given that Wick is another 110 miles north of Inverness, the match presents the best opportunity for my friends, family and all rugby supporters in the north to come and watch a rugby side represent Scotland.

“I expect we’ll get big vocal crowd who’ll get right behind the team in this crucial opening match in the 6 Nations campaign.”

Caithness coach, Colin Sangster, relished the prospect of seeing Hamilton making the step up.

He said: “The news of the Scotland under-20 game coming to Inverness is a major boost to all rugby people in the Highlands. Kris could well make the final cut. If this happened then there would not be enough buses in Caithness to ferry everyone to Inverness who would want to see the game.
 
“With the game being so close it would definitely be a big draw to players and supporters who would really appreciate having a quality international match within the region.

“For younger players who are aspiring to play at the highest level that they can, it would show them first hand the standard that they will have to attain in order to pull on the dark blue jersey themselves one day.”

Following Scotland’s well-supported 41-0 victory over Canada at Pittodrie Stadium in Aberdeen last season, the city and towns of the Highlands are gearing up for their first international since Scotland under-21 took on Wales in 2003.

Culloden Academy head master, Stephen Dowds [pictured front right], and the school’s rugby team joined Hamilton at today’s launch.

He added: “With rugby going from strength to strength at Culloden Academy, and with tremendous support from our partners in Highland RFC and Scottish Rugby, this is further great news for rugby in the north.

“The opportunity to meet and watch young international players will help develop the game further and you can be sure of a big turnout and outstanding support from our youngsters and their families.”

Provost of Inverness, Councillor Jimmy Gray, and Chairman of The Highland Council’s Inverness City Committee, said: “I am really pleased to welcome players and supporters of this rugby international to Inverness.

“We have a strong tradition of rugby playing throughout the Highlands and are looking forward to a great match next February. We extend a warm Highland welcome – ceud mile failte - to everyone who will be attending.”

Darren Mackintosh, commercial manager of Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC, added: "Our stadium has hosted a Scotland under-21 international in 2003 and we're delighted to carry on the rugby connection by staging the Scotland-France under-20 match featuring players who could soon be household names.
 
"Football fans who possibly have never seen live rugby will come along, while rugby fans who have not been to the stadium will also do so, so it’s a win-win situation for both sports. We're pleased to be working with Scottish Rugby and we hope this event will prove to be a real crowd-puller."

Scottish Rugby’s director of communications and public affairs, Dominic McKay, added: “Today’s announcement, along with the host of other representative matches to be held across the country underlines our commitment to make Scotland fixtures accessible and affordable for all.”

FREE TO ATTENED REPRESENTATIVE RUGBY ANNOUNCED TO DATE (more to follow)
Friday 20 November – Scotland A v Tonga, Netherdale (kick-off 7.30pm)
Friday 5 February – Scotland Club International v France, Netherdale (kick-off 7.30pm)
Friday 5 February – Scotland under-20 v France, Caledonian Stadium, Inverness (kick-off 7.30pm)
Saturday 6 February – Scotland A Women v France A Women, Lasswade (kick-off 6pm)
Saturday 6 February – Scotland Women v France Women, Lasswade (kick-off 7.30pm)
Friday 26 February – Gael Force v Plymouth, Bridgehaugh (kick-off 7pm)
Wednesday 10 March –Gael Force v Leinster, Bridgehaugh (kick-off 7pm)
Friday 12 March – Scotland under-20 v England, Firhill (kick-off 7pm)
Saturday 13 March – Scotland Women v England Women, Meggetland (kick-off 1.30pm)
Sunday 14 March – Scotland under-18 v France Under-18, Selkirk (kick-off 3pm)