Scotland under-20 staged a late comeback to defeat Scotland Club XV, 31-26, in torrid conditions at BT Murrayfield.
The senior age-grade side were 26-7 down at the interval, yet reversed their fortunes with four second-half tries, while stopping the opposition from scoring any further points, to claim the victory.
In an open and fluid first-half, Scotland under-20 were first on the scoresheet when back-row Ally Miller claimed the try after a well-worked driving lineout maul. However, this was quickly nulled when Club XV wing Jordan Edmunds, got on the end of a clever Lee Armstrong grubber kick to dot down under the posts.
Stand-offs Adam Hastings and Armstrong duly converted to tie the scores (7-7).
Taking confidence from their initial try, the Club International side took control of the game and added a further two tries in quick succession through scrum-half Paddy Boyer and Edmunds, who grabbed his brace. Armstrong converted he latter to give the club select a 12-point lead (19-7).
As the first-half drew to a close, the Club International grabbed their fourth unanswered score, with wing Sam Pecquer doing well to stay strong and fend off the covering defence to touch down in the corner. Hawick’s Armstrong was again successful with the boot.
The tables turned in the second-half when, with the wind at their backs, Scotland under-20 utilised the difficult conditions to put pressure on their opposition.
Prop Murray McCallum dotted down for the first score of the second-half following a period of sustained pressure from his side, before Scott Burnside peeled off a driving lineout maul to claim another score for Scotland under-20 (26-17).
Centre George Taylor was next to cross the whitewash for Scotland under-20, when he capitalised on a clever chip through from Hastings to beat Edmunds to the ball and close the gap further. Hastings defied the strong wind to add the extras and narrow the deficit to just two points (26-24).
With a growing confidence in their attack, Scotland under-20 continued to keep the Club International’s under the cosh, and their pressure and persistence soon came to fruition when Burnside came on a superb line to sidle through the defence to score and put his side in-front with only minutes left on the clock. Hastings bisected the uprights to give his side a 31-26 lead, and, ultimately, seal the game in their favour.
Scotland under-20: Chris Lines (Boroughmuir); Darcy Graham (Hawick)*, Rory Hutchinson (Northampton Saints), Tom Galbraith (Melrose)**, Ben Robbins (Currie)**; Adam Hastings (Bath), Hugh Fraser (Heriot’s)**; George Thornton (Bishop Burton College), Lewis Anderson (Ayr), Murray McCallum (Heriot’s)**, Callum Hunter-Hill (Stirling County)**, Scott Cummings CAPTAIN (Glasgow Hawks)**, Andrew Davidson (Glasgow Hawks)**, Matt Smith (Glasgow Hawks)** and Ally Miller (Melrose)**
Replacements: Jake Kerr (Boroughmuir)**, Ben Christie (Loughborough), Adam Nicol (Stirling County), Stephen Ainslie (Currie), Seb Cecil (Nottingham University), Scott Burnside (Boroughmuir)*, Lee Scott (Ayr), Ruaridh Dawson (Newcastle Falcons), Ruairi Howarth (Gala)**, George Taylor (Melrose)* and Ross McCann (Stewart’s Meville FP)*
Scotland Club XV: Fraser Thomson (Melrose); Jordan Edmunds (Boroughmuir), Ross Curle (Ayr), Brendan McGroarty (Glasgow Hawks), Sam Pecquer (Melrose); Lee Armstrong (Hawick), Paddy Boyer (Glasgow Hawks); George Hunter (Ayr), Ross Graham (Hawick), Nick Beavon (Melrose), Rob McAlpine (Ayr), Jack Turley (Heriot’s), Jason Hill CAPTAIN (Heriot’s), Will Bordill (Ayr) and Pete McCallum (Ayr)
Replacements: Michael Liness (Heriot’s), Struan Cessford (Heriot’s), Jamie Bhatti (Melrose), Craig Charters (Hawick), Neil Irvine-Hess (Melrose), George Graham (Gala), Graham Wilson (Heriot’s), Gregor Hunter (Glasgow Hawks), Cameron Ferguson (Heriot’s), Harvey Elms (Currie) and Haddon McPherson (Ayr).