CARL HOGG has named his 28-man squad for the U20 World Championship in Argentina, which kicks off in just over four weeks’ time, with four new faces being added to the group which competed in the age-grade Six Nations earlier this year.
Featuring in the squad for the first time are tighthead prop Mak Wilson (Melrose), back-row Tom Marshall (Newcastle Falcons) and wing Lomond MacPherson (Watsonians), as well as second-row Marshall Sykes (Ayr) – who was involved last year and was making big waves for Ayr in the Premiership at the start of the season just finished before suffering a knee injury at the end of October which ruled him out for the rest of the campaign.
Sykes is one of five members of the squad with previous World Championship experience, alongside props Euan McLaren (Ayr) and Murphy Walker (Stirling County), second-row Ewan Johnson (Racing 92), and stand-off Ross Thompson (Glasgow Hawks), who were all involved in last year’s tournament in France.
Flanker Rory Darge has not recovered from the knee injury he sustained whilst playing for Melrose in January, fellow back-rower Charlie Jupp (Heriot’s) is out getting shoulder reconstruction surgery, hooker Finlay Scott is also missing having dislocated his shoulder during this season’s Six Nations opener agains Italy and prop Sam Grahamslaw is still struggling with a back injury. Watsonians back three player Rufus McLean is another notable absentee.
“This year’s squad includes a good mix of youth and experience, with a large number of the group having performed together during the recent Six Nations campaign,” said head coach Hogg. “The squad made huge strides over the course of the Six Nations and eventually adapted to the pace and intensity of international age-grade rugby.
“We were at our best when we played with real speed, but also made intelligent decisions with and without the ball. The highlight was clearly the performance against Wales at Meggetland, which provides us with a real template for success.
Scotland have landed in a tough pool at the World Championship. They kick the tournament off against South Africa on 4th June, then play New Zealand four days later, with their final pool match against Georgia on 12th June.
“Each of these teams will present very different challenges, but we believe we have the game plan and players capable of adapting to find a winning way,” said Hogg.
The age-grade side will have a short camp at St Andrews University before completing their preparations for the Championship with a week-long training camp in Washington DC, which will include a warm-up fixture against SRU partnership club Old Glory DC on 27th May.
Scotland squad to compete in the 2019 World Rugby U20 Championship –
Forwards: Andrew Nimmo (Glasgow Hawks), Angus Fraser (Glasgow Hawks), Cristen Van Niekerk (Lions), Cameron Henderson (Stirling County), Connor Boyle (Watsonians), Ewan Ashman (Sale Sharks), Euan McLaren (Ayr), Ewan Johnson (Racing 92), Jack Mann (Edinburgh Accies), 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).
Backs: 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).
Scotland U20 pool fixtures in the 2019 World Rugby U20 Championship –
Tuesday 4 June: South Africa U20 v Scotland U20; Racecourse Stadium, Rosario (kick-off 10.30am local, 2.30pm BST)
Saturday 8 June: New Zealand U20 v Scotland U20; Racecourse Stadium, Rosario (kick-off 3.30pm, 7.30pm BST)
Wednesday 12 June: Georgia U20 v Scotland U20; Racecourse Stadium, Rosario (kick-off 10.30am local, 2.30pm BST)
- Interview with Carl Hogg will be online at 10pm this evening.