Scotland’s preparations for the World Rugby U20 Championships appear to be going well after they beat Old Glory DC 70-7 in Washington DC on Tuesday night, in whom Scottish Rugby has a minority stake ahead of their entry into Major League Rugby next year.
The young Scots are in the US for the week before heading down to Argentina for the Championships, which begin for them in Rosario against South Africa on Tuesday 4th June (2.30pm BST), before games against New Zealand on Saturday 8th and Georgia on Wednesday 12th, with the knockout games taking place over the following week.
After a disappointing Six Nations campaign the 70-7 victory in from of 2,296 at Catholic University’s Cardinal Stadium should be a welcome confidence boost, with Scotland eager to avoid ending up in the relegation play offs competed for by the four bottom placed sides after the group stages.
The young Scots side’s preparation had previously been hampered a little after they were forced into a couple of changes to their original 28-man squad as Jack Mann and Angus Fraser were both lost to injury, Durham University back row Jack Hill, formerly of Sedbergh School, and Edinburgh Academy hooker Rory Jackson replaced them.
It is a rapid rise for Jackson, who is still at school and was competing in the U18 Six Nations Festival over Easter. So rapid is his rise that his call up has actually necessitated another call up in Hawick’s Callum Renwick while Jackson finishes up his school exams.
The remaining 26 in the squad are as named earlier this month, with ten Exiles among them, plus Durham University’s Mann.
In the forwards the Sale Sharks pair of Teddy Leatherbarrow and Ewan Ashman were both selected, so too Newcastle Falcons’ Tom Marshall, and Cardiff Metropolitan University’s Will Hurd. There are two players in the pack playing even further afield, Cristen Van Niekerk from the Lions in South Africa, and Racing 92’s Ewan Johnson.
In the backline there are a couple of Gallagher Premiership prospects in Wasps’ Cameron Anderson and Bristol Bears’ Nathan Chamberlain, plus London Scottish’s Matt Davidson. Robbie McCallum represents Spanish side Complutense Cisneros.
Against Old Glory DC five of the Exiles started, Davidson and Anderson in the backs, and Johnson, Hill, and Marshall in the pack. Meanwhile four of the five players with previous World Rugby U20 Championship experience also started, Euan McLaren, Murphy Walker, Ross Thompson, and the aforementioned Ewan Johnson. Ayr’s Marshall Sykes was on the bench.
Scotland’s World Rugby U20 Championship Squad:
Andrew Nimmo (Glasgow Hawks)
Rory Jackson (Edinburgh Academy)
Cristen Van Niekerk (Lions)
Cameron Henderson (Stirling County)
Connor Boyle (Watsonians)
Ewan Ashman (Sale Sharks)
Euan McLaren (Ayr)
Ewan Johnson (Racing 92)
Jack Hill (Durham University)
Mak Wilson (Melrose)
Marshall Sykes (Ayr)
Murphy Walker (Stirling County)
Ross Bundy (Stirling County)
Teddy Leatherbarrow (Sale Sharks)
Tom Marshall (Newcastle Falcons)
Will Hurd (Cardiff Metropolitan University)
Callum Renwick (Hawick)*
Cameron Anderson (Wasps)
Grant Hughes (Stirling County)
Jack Blain (Heriot’s)
Lomond McPherson (Watsonians)
Ollie Smith (Ayr)
Matt Davidson (London Scottish)
Murray Scott (Watsonians)
Nathan Chamberlain (Bristol Bears)
Roan Frostwick (Currie Chieftains)
Robbie McCallum (Complutense Cisneros)
Rory McMichael (Heriot’s)
Ross Thompson (Glasgow Hawks)
*denotes temporary replacement