HAVING defeated Italy last Saturday in the opening match of their Six Nations Festival campaign, Scotland Under-18 Men suffered a defeat in their second round match against hosts France, by 32 points to 10.
The match, much of it played in pouring rain at the French national rugby centre in Marcoussis near Paris, turned out to be a game of two halves for the young Scots, who trailed 27-0 at the break before winning the second half by two tries to one, with touchdowns from hooker Elliot Young (Stewart’s-Melville College) and replacement scrum-half Hector Patterson (Jed Thistle).
In truth, the 27-0 half time scoreline flattered France in terms of opportunities created; the difference, however, was that the home side were able to profit from their visits to the red zone, whereas the Scots could not. Scotland’s best chance of a first half score followed a scything run by the Merchiston Castle No 8 Tom Currie, one of a trio of talented dark blue back-rows, that should have and could have resulted in a try.
“In the first half we created good chances in their 22 but failed to turn pressure into points,” reflected Ross Miller, the Scotland under-18 head coach. “They’ve got a lot of good players to choose from. Their pack was big and we struggled a bit against their physicality particularly in the maul and the scrum. Mass does help. They posed challenges that we hadn’t dealt with before. But it was a great learning for our boys
“The weather dried up in the second half and that helped us a lot. Hector [Patterson] took his try well and scoring a maul try against France was a big plus. I thought we grew into the game in the second half. The boys were frustrated in the way the game started for them. But this was a whole new level of rugby for them,” concluded Miller.
Scotland were unfortunate to lose the Strathallan inside centre Alex Thom with a calf injury, which could make him doubtful for the final round match on Sunday against England. Thom’s injury adds to that of the George Watson’s College full-back, Jack Brown, in the game against Italy. Brown has now returned home and was replaced by the West of Scotland back Kerr Yule, who came off the sub’s bench yesterday against France in the game.
Next up for Scotland will be the auld enemy England, who recorded their second win of the tournament having achieved a 28-21 victory over Italy in their second round match.
Scotland U18 Men: Euan Muirhead; Logan Jarvie, John Ventisei, Alex Thom, Amena Caqusau; Andy McLean, Murcock Lock; Bartlomiej Brylak, Marcus Brogan, Robert Deans, Euan McVie, Ben Weir, Liam McConnell, Sam Wallace, Tom Currie. Replacements: Elliot Young, Jerry Blyth-Lafferty, Callum Smyth, Alfie Maitland, Ruaraidh Hart, Monroe Job, Hector Patterson, Luke Townsend, Findlay Thomson, Kerr Johnson, Kerr Yule.
Meanwhile, in Scotland Under-18 Women secured a 24-22 success against Italy in the final match of their tournament being hosted at the DAM Health Stadium.
They had got off to a flyer with Sophie Langford scoring an interception try in the opening minute, and soon increased their advantage when Hannah Walker sent Sky Phimster over, with Lucy MacRae converting this time.
Phimister struck again in the 12th minute with a 60-yard interception run-in, and MacRae once again converted, but the Italians weren’t ever going to go down without a fight and fought back to 19-17 at half-time through tries by Silvia Fent and Vittoria Zanette twice, plus a conversion from Alice Visman.
Italy the nudged themselves ahead during the second half with a try by Maddie Romersa, but Scotland held their nerve and ended up claiming the spoils with a try in the corner by Nicole Flynn.
Scotland U18 Women: Lucy MacRae; Hannah Walker, Niamh Robertson-Jack, Sophie Langford, Sky Phimister; Ceitidh Ainsworth, Brogan Henderson; Poppy Fletcher, Karis Craig, Eilidh Fleming, Megan Hyland, Holland Bogan, Maia MacDonald, Alex Stewart, Kirsty Ritchie. Replacements: Freya Gracie, Molly Poolman, Chloe Brown, Elsa Quigley, Molly Gray, Hannah Speer, Carla MacDonald, Sam Taganekurukuru, Nicole Flynn, Hannah Dunnett, Emma Campbell.