Bearing In On Success

Scotland’s under-20 squad were the lucky recipients of an audience with Edinburgh’s newest, and most famous, residents as they brought an intense two-week training camp to a close.

The pandas at Edinburgh Zoo might be attracting a lot of attention but it’s the young guns of the age-grade side who hope to turn heads when they take on England in the first game of the RBS 6 Nations at Firhill on February 3.


(Pictured at Edinburgh Zoo are Harry Leonard, Murray McConnell and Robin Hislop)

Head coach Peter Wright has already welcomed the selection headache his talented charges have given him, and for those who have been here before it’s a chance to make up for a disappointing campaign last year.

Edinburgh Rugby’s Harry Leonard was part of the under-20 side which failed to win a game in the 2011 tournament.

“Camp’s gone really well and things are coming together.  There are quite a few experienced boys who were here last year.  They can offer their experiences to the other players, the boys who haven’t been here before, so that really helps. 

“We had a young side last year and I think it’s good to have a few with that experience.”

Leonard made his breakthrough into the Edinburgh professional side this year with a stand out performance coming in their Heineken Cup win away at London Irish.

“In terms of my rugby it really helped.  Playing at that level I learned an awful lot just from the few games I did feature in and hopefully I can reflect that in performances for the under-20s. 

“Obviously we didn’t win a game in the 6 Nations last year so we’ve drilled down through some things that went wrong last year and we’re looking for some big improvements.”

Also eyeing a place in the side is prop, Alex Allan.  Currently playing for his university, Loughborough Students, Alex has already appeared across the Scotland age-grade teams and last summer came off the bench Premiership side Sale Sharks in the LV= Cup.

“Every game is a challenge at this level but we’re looking forward to testing ourselves. 

“It means a great deal to me to play for Scotland, I played at under-17 and under-18 and really enjoyed it.  The competition even to get into the squad makes everyone train harder and it’s really tested me for where I want to go with my own game."

The under-20 match against England kicks off on Friday, February 3 at7.30pm at Firhill, Glasgow.

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