Jamie Farndale, the 19-year-old Edinburgh Rugby winger, has recovered from injury and has been named in Scotland’s under-20 squad for the IRB Junior World Championship in France in June.
Farndale (pictured below), who was the tournament’s top try scorer in the corresponding competition in South Africa last year, sustained a leg break when playing for Edinburgh Accies against Dundee HSFP in the RBS Premier Division in September.
However, he has worked hard on his rehabilitation and has satisfied head coach Sean Lineen that he is ready to return to the fray.
Scotland finished ninth in last year’s competition – their 21 team tries saw them top that tally – and Lineen is determined to better that this year.
The young Scots, who won two of their matches in the under-20 Six Nations – against their Italian and Irish counterparts – will be led by 19-year-old lock Jonny Gray, a recipient of the John MacPhail scholarship, who spent last summer playing club rugby in New Zealand and is the younger brother of Scotland internationalist Richie Gray.
Elsewhere there is exciting talent including Mark Bennett, the product of the Cumnock and Ayr clubs, who has impressed with Glasgow Warriors since his return from Clermont Auvergne earlier this season.
Lineen said: “Our ambition in France will be to get into the top four. It’s going to be very tough. We’ve got Argentina first up and they’ve just completed a three match tournament against South Africa.
“They’ll be very physical and that will be a massive game. We’ve then got Wales four days later. Wales were third in the competition last year and they’re a formidable team.
Our final pool game is against Samoa and that will be another big physical challenge.”
Lineen is heartened by improvements the squad have made over the season – only a last-gasp drop-goal deprived his charges of a first ever win against the French at under-20/under-21 level at Brive in March.
“The levels of commitment, ambition to play and desire to work hard for each other were all features of that match against France and we’ll need more of the same in the Junior World Championship,” he added.
Scotland under-20 have completed a three day training camp this week and will gather on two more occasions – including a training match against their Irish equivalents – before they set out for France.
Backs: Ruairidh Young (Edinburgh Accies), Rory Hughes (Scotland 7s/Stirling County), Damien Hoyland (Boroughmuir), Jamie Farndale (Edinburgh Rugby/Edinburgh Accies), J J Kilmartin (Bath Rugby), Mark Bennett (Glasgow Warriors/Stirling County), Robbie Fergusson (Ayr), Chris Auld (Gala)*, Tommy Allan (Perpignan), Alex Hagart (Aberdeen Grammar Rugby), Ali Price (Bedford Blues) and Scott Steele (Leicester Tigers).
Forwards: Jamie Bhatti (Stirling County)*, Shawn Muir (Hawick), Phil Cringle (Edinburgh Rugby/Stewart’s-Melville FP), Russell Anderson (Gala*), Callum Black (Edinburgh Accies), Reyner Kennedy (Stirling County), D’Arcy Rae (Ayr)*, Robbie Wilson (Boroughmuir)*, Ruairidh Leishman (Stirling County), Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors/Currie) CAPTAIN, Adam Sinclair (Perpignan), Alex Henderson (Boroughmuir), Adam Ashe (Glasgow Warriors/Stirling County), Tommy Spinks (London Scottish), Will Bordill (Sale Sharks) and Andy Cramond (Aberdeen Grammar).
* = supported by sportscotland Institute of Sport
Scotland under-20’s matches:
v Argentina u-20, Wednesday 5 June, Stade Pascal Laporte, Nantes, kick-off 8pm local time
v Wales u-20, Sunday 9 June, Stade Pascal Laporte, Nantes, kick-off 5pm local time
v Samoa u-20, Thursday 13 June, Stade Pascal Laporte, Nantes, kick-off 7pm local time
Scotland’s two subsequent opponents will depend on how they fare in the above matches.
Sean Lineen – Head coach
John Dalziel – Assistant coach (forwards)
Simon Cross – Assistant coach (defence)
David Hughes – Strength and Conditioning
David Pugh - Doctor
David Robertson – Physiotherapist
James Walkinshaw - Analyst
Andy Miller – Manager