Scotland under-18 head coach Grant McKelvey has today challenged his team to prove they are capable of more than stunning one-off results as they welcome their Irish counterparts to Glasgow this weekend.
McKelvey and his fellow coaches have made five changes to the starting team that defeated England under-18 26-21 in Leeds last weekend for their match against Ireland under-18 Schools at Braidholm, home of GHA, on Sunday, kick-off 12 noon. Admission to the game is FREE.
In the backs, Scotland have changed their back three with Keith Buchan at full-back and Jamie Farndale and Rory Hughes on the wings, while at scrum-half Alex Glashan has won the nod ahead of Cameron Meakin. The other change to the side is at openside flanker where Will Bordill, who has been part of Sale Sharks’ match squad this season, is preferred to Stuart Graham.
McKelvey noted that the changes would bring more pace and physicality to Scotland’s back play, while Bordill would be on the frontline against Ireland’s habitual “ferocious engagement” at breakdown.
McKelvey added: “Historically we have always been able to pull off one-off results whether that’s the Scotland team or Scotland under-18 and last weekend’s win against England was the result of a lot of hard work over four years or so.
“But what we have to do now is take some momentum from that win, put our shoulders to the wheel and build on it. “
A victory for Scotland would ensure they qualify for the FIRA/AER under-18 European Championship elite group, comprising the top four teams in the Six Nations and that is also a huge motivation for McKelvey and his charges.
“A narrow defeat could see us miss out on qualification and that is something we just cannot contemplate,” said McKelvey. “In recent years we’ve had some genuine toe-to-toe Test matches against the Irish and I expect this weekend’s game to follow very much in that tradition.”
Scotland under-18 v Ireland under-18 Schools at Braidholm, Glasgow on Sunday 3 April, kick-off 12 noon:
15 Keith Buchan (Strathallan)
14 Jamie Farndale (Edinburgh Academy)*
13 Robbie Fergusson (Ayr)
12 Chris Auld (Dumfries/Austin Friars School)
11 Rory Hughes (GHA/Glasgow MET College)*
10 Sam Hidalgo Clyne (Merchiston Castle School)
9 Alex Glashan (Edinburgh Academy)
1 Jamie Bhatti (Stirling County) CAPTAIN
2 Russell Anderson (Langholm)
3 Colin Hutton (Stirling County)
4 Callum Templeton (Dumfries)*
5 Adam Barnett (GHA/Mearns Castle School)
6 Alex Henderson (Strathallan)
8 Adam Ashe (Stirling County)
7 Will Bordill (Sale Sharks/Sandbach School)
Substitutes: 16 Jonathan Matthews (Leeds Carnegie/Prince Henry’s Otley) 17 Shawn Muir (Hawick PSA) 18 Robby Wilson (Boroughmuir/Dunbar GS)* 19 Adam Sinclair (Stirling County/Loretto) 20 Stuart Graham (Hawick PSA) 21 Scott Steele (Dumfries/Merchiston Castle School)* 22 Cameron Meakin (Exeter Chiefs/Ivybridge College) 23 Tommy Allan (London Wasps/RGS High Wycombe) 24 Mathew Lamb (Stirling County) 25 Corey Venus (Leicester Tigers) 26 Josh Welsh (Selkirk YC)
* = Member of Performance Player Development Programme supported by Area Institutes of Sport