Rugby: Borders quintet named in Under-20s squad
Head Coach John Dalziel has named five Borders players in his Scotland Under-20s squad ahead of their 2016 Six Nations campaign.
Ally Miller (Melrose) and Gary Robertson (Gala) will add weight to the forwards while Tom Galbraith, George Taylor (both Melrose) and Darcy Graham (Hawick) are included in the backs.
Dan Elkington (Melrose) and Ruairi Howarth (Gala) were both ruled out through injury.
Dalziel has re-called 11 players with Scotland Under-20 experience for the squad’s inaugural two-day camp of the season and his first in charge of the most senior age-grade side.
Over half the squad are BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy players, with 12 players operating at stage three level and a further four at stage two.
Dalziel, who has been promoted to Head Coach following a three-year spell in the assistant role, has named a squad consisting of 17 forwards and 13 backs, who enrolled in camp on Tuesday.
“We’ve selected a strong group of players for the camp, enhanced by the large proportion of the squad who already have experience of this international age-grade stage,” he said.
“The vast majority of the group have been exposed to a professional environment through involvement in the Academy, at the top-tier of the domestic game or at their respective exile clubs, which puts us in a good place.
“As a coaching and management group, we’ve been looking at these players across the season and are now ready to start moulding the squad we’re looking to carry into the forthcoming Six Nations.
“We’ve only got two days for our first camp and there’s a lot of work to be done. We are expecting the players to focus, and bring an energy and willingness to develop in the short space of time. This is a real chance for them to impress.”
Following the camp, which will include a hit-out against an Edinburgh Rugby side, the squad will regroup in a fortnight to prepare for their first game of the Six Nations against England on Friday, February 5, at Broadwood Stadium (kick-off 8pm).
They will then face Wales and Italy away, before retuning to Broadwood to host France, prior to concluding their campaign on the road to Ireland.
The team finished third in last year’s Six Nations competition and maintained a 100% record at home, defeating Wales (36-34), Italy (45-0) and Ireland (17-10), before achieving a highest-ever finish of seventh in the World Rugby under-20 Championship in June.
Scotland Under-20 squad for Six Nations training camp:
Forwards: Stephen Ainslie (Currie), Lewis Anderson (Ayr), Hamilton Burr (Aberdeen Grammar Rugby), Sebastian Cecil (Nottingham University), Ben Christie (Loughborough), Luke Crosbie (Currie)*, Scott Cummings (Glasgow Hawks)**, Andrew Davidson (Glasgow Hawks)**, Matt Emmison (Aberdeenshire), Bruce Flockhart (Glasgow Hawks)**, Callum Hunter-Hill (Stirling County)**, Murray McCallum (Heriot’s)**, Ally Miller (Melrose)**, Adam Nicol (Stirling County), Gary Robertson (Gala)**, Callum Sheldon (University of Leeds), Matt Smith (Glasgow Hawks)**.
Backs: Reiss Cullen (Watsonians), Hugh Fraser (Heriot’s)**, Tom Galbraith (Melrose) **, Darcy Graham (Hawick)*, Adam Hastings (Bath Rugby), Rory Hutchinson (Northampton Saints), Chris Lines (Boroughmuir), Ross McCann (Stewart’s Melville)*, Matt McPhillips (Currie), Robbie Nairn (Harlequins), Ben Robbins (Currie)**, Charlie Shiel (Currie)*, George Taylor (Melrose)**.
*BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy Stage 2 player 2015/16
** BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy Stage 3 player 2015/16