Borders rugby players endure contrasting fortunes overseas

Hooker Ross Ford scores a summer tour try for Scotland against Italy in Singapore (picture by Fotosport/David Gibson)
Hooker Ross Ford scores a summer tour try for Scotland against Italy in Singapore (picture by Fotosport/David Gibson)

Pride and delight has fused with desperate disappointment for Borders rugby players on international duty in three continents.

Ex-Hawick full-back Stuart Hogg will miss the rest of the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand, after suffering a facial bone fracture in a collision with a team mate during last Saturday’s 12-3 win over Crusaders.

However, former Kelso favourite Ross Ford weighed in with two tries for Scotland against Italy in Singapore, to get Gregor Townsend’s reign as coach off to a winning start on their summer tour.

And on Tuesday in Georgia, Scotland’s U20 squad made further progress in their World Championship with a 29-25 victory over Wales, with Ross McCann of Melrose among the scorers.

The Greenyards centre struck in the 27th minute to help guarantee the young Scots their highest ever finish in the tournament.

With clubmate Patrick Anderson in the squad, along with Lewis Berg of Gala and Hawick pair Darcy Graham and Fraser Renwick – who have also contributed to the Scots’ try count – the baby Blues’ reward is a clash with Australia U20 at the Avchala Stadium in Tblisi on Saturday.

Stuart Hogg’s contribution to the Lions’ antipodean tour was brought to a cruelly premature end after just 20 minutes against Crusaders when he ran into the raised elbow of teammate Conor Murray, while chasing his own high kick.

Meanwhile, experienced hooker Ross Ford, from Kelso, scored two fine second-half tries as Scotland defeated an ill-disciplined Italian side 34-13 in the humidity of Singapore.

Ford, playing his 108th game for his country – and with only two tries to his name in the previous 107 – said the Scots had played with ambition and tempo and delivered good phase play, adding it was personally very pleasing to score.

Scotland will almost certianly have a much sterner test this Saturday against Australia in Sydney, before they play Fiji on June 24.