Head coach Eddie Pollock today announced the initial list of 40 players for the three-day Scotland under-18 training camp that begins tomorrow (Tuesday 15 October) at Murrayfield Stadium.
The nation’s most talented young players will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of countless senior professionals who were once identified by the same talent identification programme.
It’s a strong squad of players and a mixture of people that we know a lot about, said Pollock.
“There are guys from the regional academy, others who have been involved in the national age-grade or exiles programmes before, and some new guys who haven’t.
“The numbers are big at the moment because we don’t want to miss anybody.”
After the camp, the players will be among those selected by the four performance rugby regions of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Caledonia and the Borders to play against each other in December.
Glasgow and Caledonia will then merge to form the age-grade Glasgow Warriors team, while Edinburgh and the Borders make up the Edinburgh Rugby side.
The two sides will play against each other twice over Christmas, in what Pollock describes as ‘the final selection games’.
“This is a massively important step in the development of these young players,” added Pollock.
“This is the real identification area for finding the guys who have the real potential to go pro.
There’s obviously a lot of hard work to do and the level of competition is extremely high but we’ve certainly got a talented group.”
Scotland under-18 programme
Initial Scotland under-18 squad
Forwards: Alex Afuakwah (High School of Glasgow/Glasgow Hawks RFC), Lewis Anderson (Marr College/Marr RFC), Lyall Archer (Highland), Scott Burnside* (Heriot’s), Fraser Christie (Stewart’s Melville College), Andrew Davidson (Kelvinside Academy), Matthew Emmison (Ellon Academy/Ellon RFC), Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Hawks), Calum Hunter-Hill (Stewart’s Melville College), Christopher Jollands* (Dundee High School), Jake Kerr* (George Watson’s College), Murray McCallum (Strathallan School), Scott McGinley (Currie), Zach Mercer* (Merchiston Castle School), Ally Miller* (George Watsons College), Adam Nicol (Queen Anne High School/Dunfermline), Jamie Ritchie* (Strathallan School), Gary Robertson (Gala Wanderers), Callum Sheldon (Queen Elizabeth School/Newcastle Falcons), Matthew Smith (Stirling High School/Stirling County), Jack Solman (Sedbergh School), Lewis Wynne (Stirling County).
Backs: Ciaran Armstrong (Fettes College), James Couper* (GHA), James Francis (Epsom School/Harlequins, Hugh Fraser* (Merchiston Castle School), Struan Hutchinson (Melrose), Craig Hunter, (Boroughmuir), Duncan Leese (Dundee High School), Max McFarlane (Hutchesons’ Grammar School), Robbie Nairn* (George Watson’s College/Currie), Reuben Norville (St. Pauls, London/London Irish), Saul Melvin-Farr* (Edinburgh Academy/Currie), Josh Laird (Strathallan School/Kirkcaldy), Andrew Manson (Stewarts Melville College), Dan Nutton (Merchiston Castle School), Ben Robbins (George Watsons College), George Taylor (Loretto School/Melrose RFC).
* Scottish Institute of Sport supported player (2013/14)