Intensity increases on Spanish sojourn

Well into week two of this year's national under-17 Player Development Camp in north-central Spain, campers Hugh Fraser (scrum half) and Stephen Ainslie (no 8/second row) offer further insight into their training as the squad look to progress to under-18 age grade level.

"The intensity of the training and the heat have both increased as the week has gone on but luckily training is in the morning and evenings so we miss the hottest part of the day and use our siestas to catch up on sleep.

Developiong skills

Training has progressed in both the forwards and backs, with the forwards continuing to develop our lineout awareness and decision-making. Eddie [Pollock, Scotland under-18 head coach] is working on the reading of opposition lineouts and calling in accordance to the space, which is a tough skill to develop. We are also working on our scrums and getting used to the new binding law.

The backs have been working on decision-making in attack in various situations, mainly focusing on counter attack and kicking. We have been working under increasing fatigue and pressure in order to replicate game situations and push us out of our comfort zones.

The forwards and backs have also been having gym sessions, run by Greg [Valentine, strength and conditioning coach]. We have been following our S&C programmes from the National Age Grade Programme or Institute as appropriate.

Last Sunday and Monday were both rest days for us. On the Sunday we went into Valladolid in the morning and then went to a swimming pool in the afternoon that consisted of most of us crowded around Clint’s iPhone watching Andy Murray’s victory at Wimbledon.

On Monday, we had a cultural visit to Salamanca. We had a tour around the city looking at the architecture, universities and cathedrals. Despite being here to play rugby, we all enjoyed the day off even though we were under strict guidance stating no junk food (mainly aimed towards the front row).

Training began again on Tuesday and we had a hard gym session followed by skills and then another team training session in the evening, working on ruck defence and then counter attack from kick receipt.

Owen Downes (Physio) has been supplying us with ‘banter’ and alongside that, keeping our bodies in shape for the intense training we have been doing.

We look forward to another tough few days training."