Seven Borderers named in initial squad for rugby’s under-20 Six Nations
Five youth players from the Southern Knights and two from their sister club Melrose feature in the extended 41-man group announced by head coach Sean Lineen ahead of two training camps to be held this month at Oriam in Edinburgh.
A smaller final squad will be named ahead of the rescheduled under-20 Six Nations championship due to start on Saturday, June 19.
Venues and fixture dates have yet to be confirmed.
The 41 youngsters picked include 25 from Scottish Rugby’s academy and 11 on the books of Edinburgh Rugby or Glasgow Warriors not invited to the young Scots’ last training camp in December 2020 to protect the integrity of the Pro14 clubs’ Covid-19 safety bubbles.
Among that latter group is West Linton’s Patrick Harrison, given his first-team debut by Edinburgh last month at the age of 18 but also listed as being on the Southern Knights’ books.
Selkirk’s Ciaran Beattie, head coach for Scotland’s sevens team, joins Lineen as his assistant, replacing Pete Murchie following his move to Glasgow Warriors.
Also in the under-20s’ back-room set-up are Shade Munro, formerly assistant head coach at Glasgow Warriors, and Southern Knights head coach Rob Chrystie.
Lineen, 59, said: “Although the players have been working hard on their own strength and conditioning, these camps will provide an important opportunity for us to work on rugby team skills with the players in an organised setting, which will be valuable as they work towards the Six Nations championship at the end of June.
“It’s great to have the contracted academy players available to us for these camps. They will bring a wealth of knowledge to the playing group from the professional team environment.
“Two of those players, Max Williamson and Alex Samuel, were invited to train with the Scotland national team over the Guinness Six Nations. Those players have experienced the next step up and the level of intensity that we will expect them to bring to these camps.”
Former Peebles player Harrison is joined by Cameron Scott, also listed with both Southern Knights and Edinburgh.
The other Borderers in the squad are fellow Southern Knights youngsters Harri Morris, Rhys Tait and Keiran Clark, along with Melrose’s Ethan McVicker and Rudi Brown.
There are also another two names likely to be familiar to Borders rugby fans – Christian Townsend, of Ayrshire Bulls, son of Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend, and Murray Redpath, listed with Newcastle University, son of ex-Scotland captain Bryan Redpath and younger brother of current international Cameron.
Also making up the squad are forwards Scott Clelland and Jamie Drummond, of Ayrshire Bulls; Duncan Hood, of Heriots Blues; Gregor Scougall, of Currie Chieftains; Michael Jones and Jamie Campbell, of Boroughmuir Bears; Corey Bowker, of Leeds Beckett University; George Ratcliffe,Jack Duncan and George Breese, of Stirling Wolves; Cole Lamberton, of Watsonians and Edinburgh; Alex Samuel and Max Williamson, of Stirling County and Glasgow Warriors; Hamish Ferguson, of Currie Chieftains; Euan Ferrie, of Glasgow Hawks; Ollie Leatherbarrow, of Exeter University; Rory Jackson, of Ayrshire Bulls and Glasgow Warriors, and Archie Smeaton, of Cambridge University.
They’re accompanied by backs Cameron Lessels and Ryan Daley, of Currie Chieftains; Euan Cunningham, of Stirling County and Glasgow Warriors; Tom Lanni, of Ayrshire Bulls; Thomas Glendinning, of Glasgow Hawks; Scott King, of Heriots and Edinburgh; Connor de Bruyn and Ollie Melville, of Boroughmuir Bears and Glasgow Warriors; Elliot Gourlay, of Sale Sharks; Finlay Callaghan, of Ayrshire Bulls and Glasgow Warriors; Alex Clayton, of Bath University; Ross McKnight, of Stirling County; Adam Scott, of Glasgow Hutchesons’ Aloysians; and Sean Carden, of Glasgow University.
Chrystie added: “It is excellent to see eight players from the Borders invited into the initial Scottish under-20s camp when you also include Christian Townsend.
“It is great for these young aspiring players to be given this opportunity after the year they have all had and I am sure they will all do themselves and the area proud.”