Under-20 Places Up For Grabs

Scotland under-20 Head Coach Peter Wright has been given food for thought over his RBS 6 Nations selection as his young charges were given a stern test by the Scotland Club XV.

In a training game on the back pitches at Murrayfield, in bitterly cold conditions, it was the club side that came out on top, 19-3. 

 

 

Wright said the exercise was a valuable experience for him and the team.  “These kind of matches are always worthwhile, particularly against a side like the Club XV. They are bigger, older and physical, it was exceptionally useful for the boys.”

There were some interesting match ups as the game got underway, none more so than in the two fly-halves facing each other.  Edinburgh’s Harry Leonard taking the field for the under-20’s against Gala’s Gregor Hunter, himself on the elite development programme with the capital club.

Other notable starters for the age-grade side included Murray McConnell, Glasgow Warriors elite development scrum-half, and Jonny Gray (Hamilton), younger brother of Scotland star Richie, who is part of the under-20 squad at just seventeen years old.

Both teams struggled to get to grips with the icy, wet conditions and the scoreboard remained untroubled with some 25 minutes gone.   The Club XV eventually opening the scoring with a simple back-row break from a scrum inside the 22.

They extended the lead when they marched a scrum from five metres out straight under the posts; the physicality of the Club XV proving too much for the under-20’s.

It was not a night for the scoreboard ticking over as penalties that ordinarily would have been a regulation three points were refused so set-pieces could be honed.

Wright, though, says he is aware of the areas that need work before the RBS 6 Nations opener against England under-20s at Firhill in two weeks time.

“The disappointing thing was the set-pieces, the guys might not have been used to playing at that tempo.   But they defended really well and we looked pretty dangerous in the second half.  We were always looking for tries rather than taking the points so that changes how you approach the game.

“It was the first chance really to look at them as a group and I needed to look at a lot of players.  To be brutally honest, what I thought might have been the second team perhaps played better than the first.  That’s made it more difficult in terms of selection for the first game of the tournament, but a good difficult.”
 
Scotland under-20 take on England under-20 in the first game of the RBS 6 Nations at Firhill, Glasgow on Friday, 3 February, kick-off 7.30pm.

Entry to the game, as it is with all age-grade representative fixtures, is FREE.