Scotland under-20 squad announced for World Championship

Head Coach John Dalziel has named his 28-man squad to travel to Manchester for the 2016 World Rugby Under-20 Championship (Tuesday 7- Saturday 25 June).

Of the players selected, 23 featured in this year’s Six Nations, in which Scotland under-20 recorded two victories over England and Italy, both of which they will face in the pool stages of this summer’s tournament.  

Dalziel has named two uncapped players in his squad for the flagship tournament, with Currie centre Matt McPhillips and teammate wing/full-back Cameron Gray making their first foray at under-20 level.

Among the two further additions is Melrose prop Dan Elkington, who played in all five games at last year’s World Championship in Italy, yet was unavailable for selection during the most recent Six Nations due to injury.

Back-row Lewis Wynne, a Stage 3 player in the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy, also makes a timely return to the national age-grade programme after recovering from a leg injury. Like Elkington, Wynne last featured for Scotland under-20 in Italy last summer. 

Dalziel said: “We’ve selected a group which contains a lot of experience, but have also added a fresh dimension with some young and exciting talents who have worked hard and fully deserve their shot.

“There was a real buzz around this group during the Six Nations, both internally and externally. The squad was hungry for success, and we want to maintain that drive and focus in the World Championship.

“We are confident that this group can perform and win in a high pressure environment.”

A strong core of the chosen group for this year’s event– 13 of the 28 selected – were named to travel to last year’s event in Italy, where Scotland achieved their highest ever finish of eighth. 

BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy players also have a strong presence, with 16 members of the squad affiliated to Scottish Rugby’s primary development programme in the 2015/16 season.

Furthermore, the squad includes three home-based fully professional players including fully-capped prop Zander Fagerson.

Edinburgh Rugby’s back-row Jamie Ritchie and full-back Blair Kinghorn, both who featured in Scotland under-20’s campaign last season, are also in the squad named to travel to Manchester. 

Lock Scott Cummings will captain the side ahead of taking up a three-year deal with Glasgow Warriors in the 2016/17 season, having played nine games for the professional outfit while still an Academy prospect.

Dalziel continued: “The majority of players are used to a professional rugby environment which gives us a solid base to build from, and limits the transition period into our set-up.

“More than half of the squad are [BT Sport Scottish Rugby] Academy players, and we’ve already seen the strides players are taking with the introduction of this development programme.”

Scotland under-20 will meet two of the sides they defeated in this year’s Six Nations – England and Italy – in the pool stages of the competition, following their opening match of the tournament against Australia at the AJ Bell Stadium.

This Friday (13 May), the squad will travel to Font Romeu in France – where the senior national team trained prior to their quarter-final success in the recent Rugby World Cup – for a week of warm weather, high-altitude training and a match against their French counterparts.  The programme is funded by Erasmus+, a European Union project providing funding for education, training, youth and sport.

Dalziel continued: “We’re thankful to Erasmus+ and Scottish Rugby for the opportunity to travel to a high performance unit in France as part of our preparations – it’s a real statement of Scottish Rugby’s intent to support the age-grade programmes. 

“The extra preparation will put us in a good place going into what will be an exciting tournament.

“We know what to expect in the pool stages, and that is three physical encounters, but we’re looking forward to soaking up the challenge.”

 

Scotland under-20 pool fixtures in the 2016 World Rugby Under-20 Championship 

Tuesday 7 June: Scotland v Australia, AJ Bell Stadium
(kick-off 5.30pm)

Saturday 11 June:
Scotland v England, Manchester City Academy Stadium
(kick-off 6pm)

Wednesday 15 June:
Scotland v Italy, Manchester City Academy Stadium
(kick-off 3.15pm)

  

Scotland under-20 squad for the 2016 World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Manchester, England
 (7-25 June)

Props

Dan Elkington (Melrose)
Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors)
Murray McCallum (Heriot’s)**
Callum Sheldon (Leeds Beckett University)
George Thornton (Bishop Burton College) 

Hookers


Lewis Anderson (Ayr)
Jake Kerr (Boroughmuir)**

Locks 

Stephen Ainslie (Currie)*
Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors)** CAPTAIN
Andrew Davidson (Glasgow Hawks)**
Callum Hunter-Hill (Stirling County)**

Back-rows

Scott Burnside (Boroughmuir)*
Ally Miller (Melrose)**
Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh Rugby)
Matt Smith (Glasgow Hawks)**
Lewis Wynne (Stirling County)**

Half-backs

Hugh Fraser (Heriot’s)**
Adam Hastings (Bath Rugby)
Charlie Shiel (Currie)*

Centres

Tom Galbraith (Melrose)**
Rory Hutchinson (Northampton Saints)
Matt McPhillips (Currie)
George Taylor (Melrose)**


Back-three

Darcy Graham (Hawick)*
Cameron Gray (Currie)
Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Rugby)
Robbie Nairn (Harlequins)
Ben Robbins (Currie)**


*BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy stage 2 player 2015/16
**BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy stage 3 player 2015/16