Scotland under-20 squad named for World Rugby Championship

Head coach, Sean Lineen, has selected his 28-man squad to travel to northern Italy for the World Rugby Under-20 Championship – formerly the IRB Junior World Championship – from Tuesday 2 to Saturday 20 June.

Scotland under-20 after their Six Nations victory over Ireland

Of the players selected, 24 featured at least once in the recent 2015 Six Nations for Scotland under-20.

Callum Sheldon, a BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy prop, is the only one of the 16 forwards who did not play any part in this year’s Six Nations tournament, to feature in the World Championship squad.

There are three new additions to the back division with wing Robbie Nairn and stand-off Blair Kinghorn, graduating from the under-18 programme and into the senior age-grade squad.  

Richard Galloway, a wing, who recently featured in a Scotland under-19 development squad who claimed victory over their Japanese counterparts, is also named as part of the travelling squad.

Lineen said: “There’s a good mixture of guys that have been there and done it, and players who haven’t had any experience at under-20 level.

“After the recent Six Nations, there’s a good buzz surrounding the group, but the World Championships is a whole different ball game – five games in 19 days, in a warm Italy, is going to be very tough.

“We fielded 15 boys over the course of the Six Nations tournament who still have another year at under-20 level, which is a real positive in terms of building their experience early and puts them in good stead for the tournament.”

Scotland under-20 recorded their highest ever finish, third, in the most recent Six Nations, winning all of their home ties against Wales, Italy and Ireland – the latter who they will face in the World Championship pool-stages.

In addition to playing their Irish counterparts, Scotland will face New Zealand first-up and Argentina in their third and final pool match.

The World Rugby Under-20 Championship is a seeded tournament, guaranteeing Scotland a further two games, regardless of their final pool placing.

Lineen insists that despite being happy with his side’s recent performances, they will have to remain focussed to make their mark on the stage that the  World Rugby Under-20  Championship will provide.

“We’ve got a tough group, so we’re under no illusion that we’ve got to go over there and give it our all,” he continued.

“Approaching the tournament in the right frame of mind is key. We need to make sure that we always bring our tenacity and every single member of the squad performs to the very best of their ability, game in, game out – we can’t rely on a select group to go out there and do the job.

“After a really positive Six Nations, we need to remain grounded and continue to knuckle down, keep learning and work hard to improve our game.”

Building towards the Championship, the squad have continued to train on a weekly basis, meeting as a group every Wednesday for training sessions.

They will also have three preparation camps and will play two games against a combined Edinburgh Rugby A and Glasgow  Warriors A team, and Wales Under-20, who they defeated 36-34 in their first home tie of the Six Nations.

Blair Kinghorn is included in the under-20 squad, graduating from the under-18 programme

Lineen continued: “Our job, as coaches, is to provide the right environment to help them grow as players, to motivate them to better themselves and to make sure they enjoy playing the game.

“There’s a lot of preparation been put in place, and we’re hoping this provides the right platform ahead of the tournament.

“The more we can get these boys training and playing together, the better it is for them both as individuals and as a collective.”

The attitude of the current squad is something Lineen and his coaching team look upon as a real positive, especially considering the young age of the group.

“It’s always an exciting time prior to these big occasions,” he continued.

“They’re a really driven and hungry squad, who all want to continue to progress in rugby, and the World Championship will provide a real opportunity for them to prove themselves at a higher level.

“We have a brave and well-drilled forward pack who are complemented by a talented set of backs. We’re looking forward to getting the best out of them.

“It’s going to be competitive – we have 28 players to play five games in 19 days. Yet, with the desire and attitude the players possess, I have no doubt they will relish in what is always a fantastic tournament.”

Scotland under-20 squad to play in the World Rugby under-20 Championship, Tuesday 2 to Saturday 20 June, in Italy:

Forwards

Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh Rugby/Boroughmuir)
Lewis Carmichael (Melrose)*
Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors/Glasgow Hawks)
Andrew Davidson (Glasgow Warriors/Glasgow Hawks)
Dan Elkington (Watsonians)
Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors/Glasgow Hawks)
Ross Graham (Hawick)
Neil Irvine-Hess (Melrose)
Sam James (Wasps)
Ruaridh Knott (Melrose)
Murray McCallum (Aberdeen Grammar Rugby)
Ally Miller (Edinburgh Rugby/Watsonians)
Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh Rugby)
Gary Robertson (Gala)
Callum Sheldon (Edinburgh Rugby/Watsonians)
Lewis Wynne (Stirling County)

Backs

Alec Coombes (London Scottish)
Tom Galbraith (Melrose)
Richard Galloway (University of Birmingham)
George Horne (Glasgow Hawks)
Ruairi Howarth (Edinburgh Rugby/Gala)
Rory Hutchinson (Northampton Saints)
Patrick Kelly (Le Parc)
Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Academy/Edinburgh Academicals)*
Robbie Nairn (George Watson’s College/Currie)*
Archie Russell (Stirling County)
Ruaraidh Smith (Currie)
Ben Vellacott (Gloucester/Hartpury College)

*sportscotland institute of sport supported player 2014/15

Scotland under-20 World Rugby Under 20 Championship pool fixtures (all times GMT)

Tuesday 2 June: New Zealand v Scotland, Stadio XXV Aprile, Parma (kick-off 7.30pm)
Saturday 6 June: Ireland v Scotland, Stadio San Michele, Calvisano (kick-off 3.30pm)
Wednesday 10 June: Argentina v Scotland: Stadio San Michele, Calvisano (kick-off 3.30pm)