THE Scotland under-19 development squad came out on top in an entertaining encounter with Japan National Schools at Inverleith in Edinburgh on Sunday afternoon.
It was the first match of a double-header with Japan, with the sides meeting again in seven days at Meggetland.
The game was played in perfect conditions in front of a few hundred spectators and Scotland started the game brightly.
Full-back Bruce Sorbie came close to opening the scoring early on but it was a penalty from fly-half Josh Henderson which got the Scots off the mark after only two minutes.
Japan continued to threaten and came close to scoring the opening try of the match, but scrum-half Charlie Shiel managed to win the ball back on his own line and clear the danger.
It was Scotland who got the first score after 24 minutes, when Man of the Match Ross McCann set up Ali Greig for the try, which Josh Henderson converted from the touchline to make it 10-0 to Scotland and that was how it stayed until half-time.
A moment of magic by Sorbie four minutes into the second-half led to the second try of the match. The full-back ran from deep inside his own half and despite being tackled just before the line, Sorbie managed to get the ball away to McCann, who went over for the score. The conversion by Henderson was missed so Scotland led 15-0.
Japan then scored two quick tries through Tomoya Yamamura and Kenta Matsuoka, both of which were converted by Yuhei Shimada to bring the visitors right back into the contest.
Ross McCann almost scored his second of the match, but he was forced into touch five metres from the Japan line, after a lung-busting run.
Ewan Fox missed a penalty after 52 minutes, but when Japan’s Fifita Siosaia was shown a yellow card for a tip tackle, it didn’t take Scotland long to make their numerical advantage count.
It was winger McCann who scored the try to seal the win four minutes from time and Fox kicked the conversion to make it 22-14.
“I’m very pleased to get the win. I thought they were two evenly matched sides who wanted to play rugby and there were some very good individual performances, which made a very good team performance,” said Don Caskie, the Scottish coach.
“These fixtures are very important for the guys, as they can put their hands up for the Under-20 World Cup and for next year’s Six Nations and I thought a lot of them did put their hands up and showed what they can do, so it now gives the Under-20s selectors something to look at.”
Scotland under-19 development squad –
15. Bruce Sorbie* (GHA RFC)
Jamie Ross (Kirkham GS / Sale), Blair Robertson (Kelso RFC), Matthew Emmison* (Aberdeenshire RFC), George Blackwell (Kirkham GS / Sale), George Bordill (Sandbach School / Sale), Andrew Simmers (Heriots RFC), Ewan Fox* (High School of Dundee / Dundee High Rugby), Sean Chapman (Hawick RFC), Rob Kay (Heriots RFC) and Hamish Bain* (Currie RFC). *BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy Stage 2 Players