Scotland under-18 head coach Eddie Pollock today named a 23-man squad to face Ireland Schools in Dublin this Sunday (30 March, kick-off 2pm).
The group’s 2013/14 campaign got underway with a 28-6 loss to England at Dalziel Park earlier this month, when the young side succumbed to late a flurry by the men in white.
The match at Ashbrooke, home of Coolmine RFC, is the squad’s final preparation fixture for the FIRA European Championship, with Pollock looking forward to taking another significant step in the young side’s development.
He said: “We competed with England in all areas of the field right until the last few minutes, when we dropped the ball over the line in the act of scoring and they hit us straight back and scored twice to take the game away from us.
“That was a big lesson for the players to take on board and showed that if you make mistakes at international level you’ll be punished.
“This Sunday we’re facing Ireland Schools, which is their main team, and who are every bit as strong as England at this level.
It’s going to be huge test and another big learning experience for the players, especially as we’re away from home.
- - Head coach Eddie Pollock
“We need to get these tough games into the programme to prepare us to face Wales in the quarter-final of the European Championship in the summer.
“We won that game to make the semis last year and that’s what we’re targeting once again.”
FORWARDS: Stephen Ainslie* (Loretto School / Berwick), Lewis Anderson (Marr College / Ayr), Scott Burnside* (Heriot’s), Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Hawks), Calum Hunter-Hill (Stewart’s Melville College), Jake Kerr* (George Watson’s College / Watsonians), Murray McCallum (Strathallan / Dunfermline), Ally Miller* (George Watson’s College / Watsonians), Jamie Ritchie* (Strathallan / Howe of Fife), Gary Robertson (Gala Academy / Gala), Callum Sheldon (Queen Elizabeth School / Newcastle Falcons), Matthew Smith (Stirling County), Lewis Wynne (St. Mungo's High School / Stirling County).
BACKS: Hugh Fraser* (Merchiston Castle School), Andrew Manson (Stewart’s Melville College), Rory Hutchinson (MPW Cambridge / Shelford), Max MacFarlane (Hutchesons’ Grammar School), Josh Laird (Strathallan School / Kirkcaldy), George Taylor (Loretto School / Melrose), Reuben Norville (St. Pauls School / London Irish, Robbie Nairn* (George Watson’s College / Currie), Ben Robbins (George Watson’s College), Ruairi Howarth (Gala Academy / Gala).
* Scottish Institute of Sport supported player 2013/14
Scotland U18 6-28 England U18, Dalziel Park
Sunday 30 March – Ireland U18 v Scotland U18, Ashbrook, Dublin (kick-off 2pm)
Thursday 10 to Sunday 20 April – FIRA/AER U18 Championship, Poland