Leonard And Bennett Ready To Challenge The Irish

Scotland under-20 will take on Ireland under-20 at Dubarry Park tomorrow night (Friday 9 March, kick-off 7.05pm) in their fourth match of the RBS 6 Nations Championship.

Edinburgh Rugby stand-off, Harry Leonard will lead the team out for the third time in the tournament and in an exclusive interview with www.scottishrugby.org he has spoken of how important a win is.

He said: “We have a good team and the feeling in the camp is positive ahead of tomorrow’s match. We took a lot of positives away from our last match against France (21-30) a fortnight ago, but we didn’t win.

"We now have a chance to put in another good performance and put the things that went wrong last time right.

“It’s a great honour to lead my country again and I believe we deserve a win. I know all the boys are dying to win too.”

Meanwhile, Mark Bennett, the Clermont Auvergne centre, makes his first start in this year’s championship following a serious knee injury in August last year while training with the French Top 14 side.

He made his return to action with the Clermont under-20 side last weekend, playing the full 80 minutes and scoring a try in the process.

“Obviously it was hard to take, especially in the silly way it happened in training.  I’ve been doing a lot of work in the gym, a lot of cardio to keep in shape before getting back into the rugby side of things.

“I was nervous before the game, not just because of what happened with the injury, but because it was a big game, first versus second in the league.  But I played the whole match and felt good, not a sign of anything going wrong.”

Mark was part of the Scotland under-20 set up at last years IRB Junior World Cup and has been keeping a close eye on the team, from his home in France, as they got underway in this years RBS 6 Nations championship.

“I watched the first two games online (against England and Wales) and followed the France game on Twitter as there was no tv coverage.  I wasn’t thinking about being involved to be honest it’s just lucky that the timing has meant I’m back playing and fit enough to take part. 

“They are a really good group of guys, very welcoming and I know a lot of them from playing with the under-20s last year.

“I hope I can bring something a wee bit different to the team.  I played against Ireland a few times and they are relentless but we have to look to keep improving.  We’re definitely looking to go out and beat them and we can put a few tries on the scoreboard.”

It was a big move for Mark to decide to relocate to France having played his club rugby at Ayr but he’s got one goal in mind.

“Just to play rugby, wherever I happen to be.  It would be nice to be involved with the 1st XV at Clermont next season but for now it’s just about getting out there and playing rugby.”

Scotland under-20 team to face Ireland under-20

15.Tommy Allan (Western Province)
14. Jamie Farndale (Edinburgh Rugby/Edinburgh Accies)
13. Mark Bennett (Clermont Auvergne)
12. Finn Russell (Falkirk)
11. Michael Crawley (Boroughmuir)
10. Harry Leonard (Edinburgh Rugby)
9. Matt Torrance (Ospreys)

1.    Robin Hislop (Edinburgh Rugby)
2.    George Turner (Edinburgh Rugby/Stewart’s Melville)
3.    Alex Allan (Loughborough Students)
4.    Andrew Redmayne (Dundee HSFP)
5.    Jonny Gray (Hamilton)
6.    Mitch Eadie (Bristol Rugby)
8.Jamie Swanson (Boroughmuir)
7. Will Bordill (Sale Sharks)

16. Russell Anderson (Gala)
17.  Gavin Robertson (Dundee HSFP)
18. Adam Sinclair (Stirling County)
19. Callum Reid (Edinburgh Accies)
20. Jamie Bhatti (Stirling County)
21. Murray McConnell (Glasgow Warriors/Ayr)
22. Tom Steven (Glasgow Hawks)
23. Robbie Fergusson (Ayr)

Ireland under-20s v Scotland under-20s on Friday, 9 March, Dubarry Park, Athlone (kick-off 7.05pm).  For match updates, follow @ScotlandTeam on Twitter