Culture Secretary and Jonny Gray back U16 squad ahead of Japan tour

Culture Secretary and Jonny Gray back U16 squad ahead of Japan tour

Scottish Rugby today announced the U16 touring squad which will travel to Japan this August to play two games against Nagasaki (Friday 10 and Sunday 12 August).

The squad of 24, which comes from nine schools across Scotland, will make the trip, supported by the Scottish Government, the Bill McLaren Foundation and Friends of Scottish Rugby, as part of Scottish Rugby’s ongoing relationship with the city of Nagasaki.

Selected players are from the CashBack Schools of Rugby programme, which supports schools in some of the most deprived areas of Scotland by providing opportunities for disadvantaged young people to develop their physical fitness, cognitive skills and personal qualities.

While on tour the squad will have opportunities to experience and learn from a different culture by attending the traditional Kunchi autumn harvest festival in Nagasaki and trying their hands at calligraphy and archery.

The squad will also take part in a peace memorial ceremony in Nagasaki on the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on the city on 9 August 1945.

Al Kellock is leading the tour as ambassador and current Scotland and Glasgow Warriors second-row, Jonny Gray, will spend time with the young squad in the build-up to the tour, taking training sessions and sharing his experiences as a young player.

Tour Ambassador, Jonny Gray, said: “It’s been fantastic to be involved in such a great opportunity for these young players.

“I have been lucky enough to play in Japan with Scotland, it is an interesting country full of wonderful people and a place this young squad will enjoy learning more about as a group of friends.

Touring with a rugby team can be an unforgettable experience and I’m sure it is something that every single one of the squad will make the most of.”

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Congratulations to the players from schools across Scotland who have been selected to represent their country in Japan.

“During my recent Government visit to Japan there was great interest in the Scotland and Japan Rugby links in advance of the 2019 Rugby World Cup due to be hosted there.

The work to forge exchanges with young people and Nagasaki through rugby is a wonderful initiative which is building and fostering positive relationships and this is an exciting opportunity for these young Scots in the Year of Young People.”

Scottish Rugby’s Gordon Lyon has been named Head Coach for the tour and will be joined by Assistant Coach Stephen Raby from Auchinleck Academy as well as Tour Manager, Steve Turnbull, and Team Medic, Mike Proudfoot, both from Scottish Rugby.

Tour Head Coach, Gordon Lyon, said: “It is exciting to bring these boys together. Every player in the squad has worked incredibly hard over the past season and fully deserves their place on this tour.

They will now have to work hard to galvanise as a squad and bring together their different characteristics and playing styles for the challenges ahead on the pitch.

“It will be a fantastic experience for everyone involved to not only play rugby outside of Scotland but experience a different culture while travelling.”

The group of 14 to 16-year-olds arrives in Nagasaki on Tuesday 7 August and returns home on Tuesday 14 August.

Scottish Rugby marked the start of its partnership with Nagasaki with the signing of a Strategic Alliance at BT Murrayfield in August 2016, and which has seen a Japanese age-group touring side visit Scotland in 2017.

The tour takes place just over a year before the Scotland national team undertake a two-week pre-World Cup training camp in Nagasaki.

CashBack Schools of Rugby U16 Squad to tour Japan

Nathan Field (Ayr Academy / Ayr)

Frazer Littlejohn (Auchinleck Academy / Cumnock)

Jack Lorimer (Auchinleck Academy)

Jo Paterson (Auchinleck Academy / Cumnock)

Alasdair Rogers (Auchinleck Academy / Cumnock)

Lewis Young (Auchinleck Academy / Cumnock)

Luke Donald (Cumnock Academy)

Connor Haining (Cumnock Academy / Cumnock)

Jack Chelley (Hawick High School)

Stephen Cook (Hawick High School / Hawick Albion)

Elliot Stanger (Hawick High School / Hawick Albion

Connor Sutherland (Hawick High School)

Logan Hunter (Levenmouth Academy)

Harris McLeod (Levenmouth Academy / Kirkcaldy)

Logan Aitken (Lornshill Academy / Alloa)

Ethan Palmer (Lornshill Academy)

Alexander Summers (Lornshill Academy / Alloa)

Robbie Warnock (Lornshill Academy / Alloa)

Billy Douglas (Maxwelltown High School)

Thomas Jones (Maxwelltown High School)

Ryan Steele (Maxwelltown High School / Dumfries Saints)

Szymon Szewczyk (St Andrew's Secondary School)

Brodie Buchanan (St Thomas Aquinas Secondary School)

Luke Cameron (St Thomas Aquinas Secondary School / West of Scotland)

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