The Scotland team have returned from the Under-18 Six Nations Festival at the French National Rugby Center in Marcoussis, near Paris, with their heads held high after a strong performance at the Easter tournament.
The young Scots finished with a victory in three matches with a win over Italy and losses to the two undefeated teams, France and England. But of course the results and the scores do not reveal the full picture and in particular Scotland’s excellent performance in the final round match against England who narrowly lost 15-18 in a match with very small margins. .
scotland Head Coach, Ross Miller, although he is disappointed to lose to England, he is realistic about his participation in this Festival. “The reason to come here is to develop these guys,” he said. “I am proud of how the boys have developed in what was a very intense competition. [three matches over eight days]. They improved their performance in each game. Everyone will be better for participating. What is needed now is a careful transition to the next stage.”
Under-19 international games, perhaps?
Certainly the final match against England showed that there was little between the two teams and given the resources south of the border, the Scots can justifiably feel they stepped up considerably by taking on their neighbors for that purpose.
They may have lost to England, but the Scots managed a larger margin of victory over Italy (31-17) than England (28-21). Where Scotland perhaps slipped a bit was in the first half against France when they trailed 27-0 and looked headed for a catastrophic scoreline. But then they defied the odds by showing immense character in the second half to outplay the French two tries to one and in doing so were able to get a lot out of that game.
In terms of personnel, the players already designated elite, Liam McConnell Y tom curryThey were immense and seem to have a bright future in rugby, but there were others who took the opportunity to highlight their talent. Miller points to the likes of the second row, Euan McVieTrinity Academy student, as a success story: “He has worked incredibly hard and is really looking forward to it.”
Another who featured prominently in the match against England was the Boroughmuir front row. Jerry Blyth-Lafferty, a student at Firhill High School: “Jerry was cast as a prostitute and prop and that flexibility will be good for him. He did very well.”
Also prominent was the Stewart’s-Melville College prostitute, elliot youngwhose pace around the pitch was a huge advantage for the Scots.
Behind the scrum, Scotland were unlucky enough to lose Watson’s College full=back jack brown due to injury, but that gave the Dumfries Saints player more playing time euan muirhead. In the event, Muirhead showed his potential and should continue to develop through training with the Ayrshire Bulls Super6 team.
Another player forced to miss the match against England was the Melrose Wasps showdown, Luke Townsend, who suffered a hand injury after the match against France. That put pressure on Robert Gordon’s College No 10, Andrew McLeanbut the Aberdonian, who was short of playing time before the tournament, put in a confident performance against England.
Of the youngest players on the team, the St Aloysius College center John Ventisei he was hugely impressive and will surely be a major player when he returns next year. The rest of the players in the current squad eligible to play next year are full-backs. jack brownJed Thistle’s scrum-half Hector Patterson and central west Scotland Kerr Yule.
The task of Scotland’s senior brass by age now is not only to keep this current under-18 side developing, but also to keep a close eye on the players left out of the squad, as well as those who mature a bit more. late than his peers.
Scotland cannot afford to lose talent and this Six Nations Festival in France proves that smart coaching, identifying talent correctly and taking chances with players whose potential has been spotted but are perhaps not off the shelf products can deliver its fruits.
Under-18 Six Nations Festival Results:
- Round 1. Italy 17 Scotland 31, Wales 14 England 33, France 28 Ireland 23
- Round 2. France 32 Scotland 10, Ireland 46 Wales 26, Italy 21 England 28
- Round 3. Italy 14 Ireland 40, England 18 Scotland 15, France 66 Wales 21