McCallum: We held them off, went at them and scored tries

Murray McCallum was at the crux of an historical season for Scotland under-20 last year, and has again been at the heart of the squad’s success as they continue to break new ground.

The BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy prop, who plies his trade at capital club Heriot’s, was one of four scorers as the age-grade side recorded a 27-19 victory over Italy. The win gave Scotland their second pool stage win and second spot in group B, a first for the nation at under-20 level.

Reflecting on the result, McCallum said: “The boys are buzzing with the two wins in the pool.

“We set that as a goal at our training camp in France, and we stuck to it.

“We hit a speed-bump in the game against England, who came out all guns blazing. We suffered a pretty harsh loss in that game, especially having the win  over Australia under our belt, but we went out against Italy and did the job.  

“It wasn’t a huge scoring game, but they see us as an opposition they can beat. However we held them off, went at them and scored tries.

“In the build-up to the game, we recovered well, did the right analysis, looked at the things we needed to work on in training and made amends.

McCallum improved on his impressive try-haul in the win over Italy, as he dotted down for his fourth Scotland under-20 score this season.

Ever humble, he said: “I suppose it’s just being in the right place at the right time.”

The men in blue will now progress to the 5th-8th play-offs, where they will face Australia, who’ll be seeking revenge for their first round loss to the Scots.

The junior Wallabies went down 15-10 to Scotland in the opening round of the tournament with wing Darcy Graham and prop Zander Fagerson scoring a try a-piece, while stand-off Adam Hastings kicked five points from the tee, to give the Scots a historic first win over the men in gold.

Australia made amends for the second game beating Italy 40-7, before suffering an agoninsing defeat to hosts England in their final pool-match, which would see them settle in third place on seven points.

However, McCallum knows the challenge his side face in duelling with Australia for a second-time in the play-offs. He said: “Australia will be hurting from their game against England. They’ll be gunning for us and they’ll be out for the victory.

“It’ll certainly be a battle, but we’re looking forward to it. We want to show that our win against them in the first round wasn’t a fluke, so we need to go all out.

“We’ve already won two games in the pool, but we now want to re-gather and win that first game in the knockout stage.”

Scotland under-20 will face Australia under-20 in the 5th-8th place play-offs on Monday (20 June) at AJ Bell Stadium (kick-off 7.45pm).