An appreciative crowd of nearly 500 cheered on Scotland's under-18 players this afternoon at Braidholm, in their first fixture of the year, as the side came within a minute of holding their Welsh opponents to a draw, a late converted try making the final score 12-19 to the visitors.
Head coach Eddie Pollock said: "The boys are disappointed that we lost. It's a game we shouldn't have lost and the effort and technical ability from the players was very good.
"They're a good group to work with and they worked extremely hard today. We struggled in a couple of early scrums but we got to grips with that; our lineout was pretty strong, apart from a couple of balls we lost on our own line which led to us losing scores. We can eradicate these things quite easily - but at this level if you make mistakes, people score."
Click here to see photos from today's game
Pollock added: "The Welsh scored three tries from turnovers from our ball but apart from that, I thought our defence and our work rate was excellent and we attacked well at times.
"The important thing is that we learn from our mistakes and improve before we play England next week. These back-to-back games are about looking at our mistakes and taking on messages."
The match kicked off in spectacular style with a loose Welsh ball, within a minute of the start, pounced on by the Scots with Shaun MacDonald scooping it up and taking it over the line - Ben Cooper added the extras to put the Scots 7-0 ahead.
Solid passing and consistent pressure from the home side froze the score until nearly midway through the first half, however a turnover ball saw the visitors pushing their attack and challenging the line until they crossed the whitewash, the five points going to centre Benjamin Roberts (7-5).
Wales continued to have the run of play although a chance for them to edge ahead with a penalty opportunity came to nothing. Loose ball again by the Welsh saw the Scots worry the whitewash again, however they were held up on the line. A lineout steal from the Welsh had their winger, Lewis Hudd, eye the gap and run for the line, his try converted by stand-off Jack Maynard.
Things started more quietly in the second half, with a raft of substitutions after ten minutes for the Scots, however there were some crowd-pleasing turns from the home side including a one-handed back-flick offload from Cooper and a great intercept from Irvine-Hess which saw the lock tear up the pitch, only being brought down inches from the line.
Some interesting ball-popping along the line from the Welsh came to nothing and the action was soon all Scotland's way with a great break from winger Ed Farquharson resulting in Scotland's second try; the conversion went wide (12-12)
With one minute left on the clock the game was heading for a draw until the Welsh took their chance, from another turnover ball, and Hallam Amos scored, the try converted by Gareth Thomson seconds befor the final whistle.
Scotland's under-18 programme is geared around the FIRA championships in Madrid in early April with their next game against England (Sunday 18 March, Mansfield Park, Hawick - kick-off 2pm) and the last home nation fixture away against Ireland (Coolmine RFC, Dublin, kick-off 12noon) on Sunday 25 March.
Scotland under-18 v Wales under-18, Braidholm, Sunday 11 March
15. Gavin Lowe (Ayr)
14. Ed Farquharson (Aberdeen Grammar / Cults Academy)
13. Cameron Mackenzie-Lawrie (Warwick School)
12. Frankie Robson (Kelso HS / Kelso)
11. Shaun MacDonald (Dunblane HS / Stirling)
10. Ben Cooper (Sedbergh School)
9. Alex Glashan (Edinburgh Academy) (captain)
1. James Malcolm (Hutchesons' GS / GHA)
2. Scott Rendall (Orkney)
3. Ross Murray (Dollar / Stirling County)
4. Andrew Cramond (Royal High / BATS)
5. Neil Irvine-Hess (George Watson's College)
6. Cameron Simpson (Edinburgh Academy)
7. Joe Jones (Merchiston Castle)
8. Cameron Turner (Robert Gordon's College)
16. Blair Jardine (Kilmarnock / Carrick Academy) (on for Rendall)
17. D'arcy Rae (Kilmarnock)
18. Chris Barnes (HS of Glasgow / Glasgow Hawks) (on for Murray)
19. Buchan Richardson (Wellington College) (on for Simpson)
20. Murdo McAndrew (Howe of Fife / Strathallan) (on for Turner)
21. Ramsay Young (George Watson's College)
22. Callum Irvine (Harrogate)(on for Cooper)
23. Neil Herron (West of Scotland / Jordanhill School) (on for Glashan)
24. Tommy Spinks (Fettes College) (on for Robson)
25. Sam Pecqueur (Trinity Academy) (on for Lowe)
RBS Man of the Match: Neil Irvine-Hess (Sc)