Harley Revved Up For Auld Enemy

Scotland under-20 lock Robert Harley admitted he is more revved up than ever as his side prepare to take on the Auld Enemy at Firhill Stadium a week on Friday (12 March, kick-off 7pm) – the perfect free admission appetiser for Scotland’s Calcutta Cup clash in the RBS 6 Nations at Murrayfield the following day.

The 19-year-old West of Scotland player from Milngavie has played England three times in his age-grade career at under-17, 18 and 20 and, with one win and two losses, the fiery-haired local lock, is keen to redress that balance at the home of Glasgow Warriors.

Scotland under-20 lock Robert Harley admitted he is more revved up than ever as his side prepare to take on the Auld Enemy at Firhill Stadium a week on Friday (12 March, kick-off 7pm) – the perfect free admission appetiser for Scotland’s Calcutta Cup clash in the RBS 6 Nations at Murrayfield the following day.

The 19-year-old West of Scotland player from Milngavie has played England three times in his age-grade career at under-17, 18 and 20 and, with one win and two losses, the fiery-haired local lock, is keen to redress that balance at the home of Glasgow Warriors.

Harley said: “It’s huge for me. When the schedule of games was released it instantly jumped out as the big one with my family there watching in my home town.

“I’ve been watching Glasgow since they played at Hughenden and know that Firhill is a fantastic stadium for rugby. Glasgow always has a wild crowd and hopefully that’ll be intensified by the fact that it’s an international match.”

A year on from playing in every under-20 World Championship match as an 18-year old, Harley is now a key member of this season’s under-20 squad, starting every 2010 6 Nations match so far, including two historic under-20 achievements.

The first came when the Scots drew 8-8 with France in front of almost 3000 vocal supporters in Inverness who backed them to the hilt as they battled back from conceding an early score (the first under-20 side not to lose to les Bleus).

The under-20s then bounced back from a 20-12 loss to Wales at Cardiff Arms Park and secured the first away victory for Scotland at this age-grade with a dramatic 16-18 victory over Italy in front of a 4000-strong Sardinian crowd.

Harley added: “I think that the crowd in Inverness can take a lot of credit for our performance in the France match. They really got behind us and helped instil our self-belief.

“If we get the same support against England we can take our performance higher than ever.

 “The tries we’ve scored in the championship so far [six in three games] have shown that we can play really good rugby but against Italy we had to show more than just ability.

“It was the mental toughness, belief and composure we have throughout the team – especially from our captain Stuart McInally (number 8) and Alex Dunbar (centre) – that won us the game in the end.

“We have a great coaching structure in place. Our head coach Eamon John looks very closely at all of our opposition and always stresses the importance of the crowd.

“We have to get them behind us. We’ll look to use that as a major weapon against England because if they can lift each player just a tiny bit then the overall impact on the game will be huge.”


After making his debut for West of Scotland in season 2006, while still a pupil at Douglas Academy, Milngavie, Harley began his representative rugby career as an under-17 internationalist in the side that won three from three in the Millfield School international festival, beating England (17-15), France (16-3) and Wales (16-11).

The promising youngster then started all six of the national under-18 team’s matches in 2008 before being fast-tracked into the Scotland under-20 Junior World Championship squad last summer where he featured in every match, including a 30-7 defeat to this weekend’s opponents, England.

SCOTLAND UNDER-20 6 NATIONS SCHEDULE
Friday 5 February – Scotland under-20 8-8 France under-20, Tulloch Caledonian Stadium, Inverness
Friday 12 February – Wales under-20 20-12 Scotland under-20, Cardiff Arms Park
Friday 26 February – Italy under-20 16-18 Scotland under-20, Capoterra, Sardinia
Friday 12 March – Scotland under-20 v England (Firhill, kick-off 7pm)
Friday 19 March – Ireland under-20 v Scotland under-20 (Dubarry Park, Athlone, Ireland, kick-off 7.35pm)