WHILE Selkirk Youth Club were busy collecting silverware all over the region last weekend full-back Josh Welsh, pictured left, was enjoying his first start in a Scotland jersey, writes Fiona Scott.
And, despite missing the celebrations with his clubmates, the 17-year-old student could console himself in the knowledge that he, and the rest of Scotland’s under-18 side, put in a great effort to beat their English counterparts in the European Championship match at Headingly Carnegie, Leeds.
The home side led 21-13 at half-time, but a tremendous second half from the visitors saw England defeated at this level for only the second time in the last three years.
Speaking about his international debut Welsh said: “It was great to get my first start in a Scottish jersey on Sunday against the English and to get a result in the way we played was great for everyone involved. Due to picking up a head knock that required stitches, I could not play a full part in the whole game, but I am looking forward to getting my next chance.”
The team play Ireland at Braidholm on Sunday, a win would get them through to the final stages of the tournament.
Delighted head coach Grant McKelvey said: “The side stuck to the game plan that they themselves had a big part in putting together and handled England’s physicality really well. The boys applied pressure at every point in the game and, together with their huge work ethic, pulled off a great result.”
Welsh and Scotland team mate Russell Anderson (Langholm) are both students on the BASE sports diploma with rugby skill development course at Borders College.
Richie Gray, BASE Programme Leader said: “It’s good to see another group of BASE players coming through to compete at international age-grade standard and win, which is the most important thing at this level. It is a credit to both the players on how hard they have worked this year with all the support they get from club, district, governing body and Borders College.”
Josh’s rugby route has taken him through Pathways at under-15 and under-16 levels and he has represented the Borders at under-16, under-17 and under-18 levels.