U18 international festivals: mixed fortunes for Scotland men and women in opening round

Both teams have positives to build on going into round two on Wednesday

Hannah Dunnett carries the ball for Scotland Under-18 Women against Italy. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Hannah Dunnett carries the ball for Scotland Under-18 Women against Italy. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

AFTER an arid run of results at under-20 level, Scotland Men returned to winning ways in age-grade international rugby in their opening match of the Six Nations Under-18 Festival, being played in the Parisian suburb of Marcoussis, with a 31-17 victory over Italy

In all. the young Scots scored five tries, two by the Stirling County wing Logan Jarvie, and one apiece from scrum-half Murdock Lock (Wellington College/Harlequins Academy), hooker Elliot Young (Stewart’s Melville College) and wing Amena Caqusau (Queen Victoria School),  Stand-off Luke Townsend (Melrose Wasps) converted three of the Scotland tries.

“We’re very pleased with this result,” said Ross Mille, the Scotland under-18 head coach, adding: “This game was the first experience of international rugby for this group, although a few were involved at under-16 level.

‘I thought that our players were exciting in attack and overall their game management was impressive, particularly when there was a lot of pressure from Italy. We finished the stronger in what was a real squad effort. The guys who came on certainly made a difference.”

Scotland’s next match in the Under-18 Festival will be against France on Wednesday.

Scotland U18 Men (v Italy): J Brown; L Jarvie, K Johnston, A Thom, A Caqussau; L Townsend, M Lock; C Smyth, E Young, R Deans, E McVie, A Maitland, L McConnell, M Job, T Currie. Replacements: M Brogan, J Blyth-Laerty, B Brylak, B Weir, R Hart, S Wallace, H Patterson, A McLean, F Thomson, J Ventisei, E Muirhead.


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Meanwhile, Scotland Under-18 Women were well beaten, 24-0 by Wales, in the first of two 35-minutes matches they played on day one of the international rugby festival which is being hosted at the DAM Health Stadium this week. However, they did manage a a 0-0 draw against Italy in their second 70-minute match.  They now play Italy again in a 70-minute match on Wednesday (kick-off 2.30pm).

“Going into today we had a pretty rigid framework that we were going to give everyone a start and we were going to look at some combinations,” head coach Duncan Harrison said. “I think we were a little bit slow against Wales, not through lack of trying. And then for the Italy game, we came in with a lot more confidence. We were brave both sides of the ball and played at a good tempo.

“It’s been a massive step forward and a very positive step forward both sides of the ball. We’ll have some good measurables of how we are progressing as a group having played Italy and playing them again. the best part of today, particularly in the second game was that we created opportunities, and it’s just that execution, and that will come the more they are put under pressure in these games. We are leaving today in a very positive state, technically, tactically and as you can see from the smiles on their faces emotionally as well. They’ve just loved it.”

Scotland U18 Women (v Wales): L MacRae; H Walker, H Speer, E Campbell, S Phimster; C Ainsworth, H Dunnett; F Gracie, M Poolman, P Fletcher, K Ritchie, M Hyland, M MacDonald, A Stewart, S Taganekuruukuru. Replacements: H Brogan, E Fleming, C Brown, E Quigley, M Gray, N Robertson-Jack, C McDonald, K Craig, N Flynn, B Henderson, S Langford.


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About Alan Lorimer 253 Articles
Scotland rugby correspondent for The Times for six years and subsequently contributed to Sunday Times, Daily and Sunday Telegraph, Scotsman, Herald, Scotland on Sunday, Sunday Herald and Reuters. Worked in Radio for BBC. Alan is Scottish rugby journalism's leading voice when it comes to youth and schools rugby.

4 Comments

  1. Having seen the reported evidence of the effectiveness of the Italian strategy for developing youth at U20 level, I wasn’t expecting this result, but then I can’t claim to have followed the fortunes of our age grade rugby closely. Watching the highlights, it appeared to be an encouraging win, though I couldn’t help but wonder if the commentator’s son was playing for Scotland. It’ll be interesting to see how the next encounter goes against the home side. If it’s shown live on YouTube too, I’ll try to catch it.

  2. Let’s not get carried away after just one game , we will learn whether or not our 18’s are “ pretty good “ over the next couple of games against France and England. Italy were decidedly average , made far too many basic errors and the overall standard of play from both teams was not particularly high…

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  3. The fact that our U18 teams are often pretty good yet our U20s are awful on a consistent basis shows that we have the players, just aren’t developing them correctly after they leave school

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