Scotland Under-20A 15-33 Japan Under-20

Scotland under-20A fell to a 33-15 defeat against a clinical Japan under-20 side on the Murrayfield back pitches this afternoon.

The shadow Scots started and finished the match strongly, tries from openside Grant Runciman and full-back Jamie Forbes bookending their performance.

Scotland under-20A fell to a 33-15 defeat against a clinical Japan under-20 side on the Murrayfield back pitches this afternoon.

The shadow Scots started and finished the match strongly, tries from openside Grant Runciman and full-back Jamie Forbes bookending their performance.

In between, however, there were too many basic mistakes for head coach Phil Smith’s liking, as the hosts’ attempts to build momentum were disrupted by handling errors and indecision.

The Japanese, by contrast, brought impressive precision to the game, the dynamism of half-backs Uchida and Nakamura ensuring a regular supply of ball to widemen Hano and Hikosaka who each got themselves on the scoresheet.

Smith conceded: “Japan deserved their win, because they played a lot of good stuff at pace and showed accuracy under pressure.

“That was where we fell down: we got ourselves in a lot of promising positions, but avoidable mistakes got in the way of what we were trying to do.

“There were a number of good individual performances, and that will certainly give the coaches food for thought as the squad for the IRB Junior World Championship comes to be finalised. Jamie Swanson at No.8 showed up well with ball in hand, and Jamie Forbes and [winger] Tom Steven also demonstrated what they can do.

“The lesson overall is that, in international rugby, you’ve got to be controlled about what you do across the 80 minutes.”

Scotland began brightly, Runciman crossing in the ninth minute after a series of punishing close-range pick-and-drives.

Japan hit back quickly, Uchida making a searing break before ceding to Hano to complete the score.

Next up on the carve was Nakamura, who fed Hikosaka for the visitors’ second try during a period of intense pressure just before the interval. This spell concluded with a further driven score, and within 12 minutes of the restart, Japan under-20 were some 21 points to the good as the Scots lost their discipline close to the line and a penalty try was awarded.

A response was required from Smith’s men, and Steven duly provided it, crossing in the left-hand corner after a looping cut-out pass from replacement stand-off Gregor Hunter.

Hikosaka cancelled out this good work with another big break and score, before a sweeping run from Forbes brought the final touchdown of the game.

SCOTLAND UNDER-20A: Jamie Forbes (Watsonians); Tom Steven (Glasgow Hawks), Lee Millar (Gala), Craig Jackson (Melrose), Harry Mountain (Team Northumbria); Fraser Gillies (Racing Metro), Bruce Colvin (Melrose); Nick Fraser (Boroughmuir), Richard Ferguson (Melrose), Alex Allan (Loughborough University), Andy Redmayne (Dundee HSFP), Andy Kirkland (Glasgow Hawks), Lawrie Seydak (Heriot’s), Grant Runciman (Melrose), Jamie Swanson (Boroughmuir)

Substitutes: Greg Jones (Boroughmuir), Chris Keen (Kelso), Gary Graham (Gala), Cammy Orr (Boroughmuir), Andrew Nagle (Jed-Forest), Steven Turnbull (Hamilton), Gregor Hunter (Edinburgh/Heriot’s)

Tries: Runciman, Steven, Forbes