Scotland’s Under20 World Championship rugby campaign kicks off today (Wednesday) in Georgia.
And two of Hawick RFC’s young stars will be hoping to make their mark on the international stage.
As the British and Irish Lions departure for New Zealand garners most of the rugby headlines, the Under20 Rugby World Championships launch has somewhat crept in under the radar. The competition was
officially opened on Sunday, with all the team captains meeting in Georgia’s capital city of Tbilisi, ahead of today’s first-round matches.
The young Scots have finished eighth the previous two championships and have been drawn alongside New Zealand, Ireland and Italy in Pool B this time around.
Hawick stars Fraser Renwick and Darcy Graham, who shone at last year’s competition, have both been included in Scotland’s starting XV by head coach John Dalziel for their pool opener against five-
time winners New Zealand ‘Baby Blacks’ at the AIA Arena in Kutaisi.
“We’ve named an exciting side for the tournament opener and we’re hoping they’ll go out there and express themselves from the offset,” said Dalziel. “There’s no playing down the enormity of the challenge we face going up against New Zealand first. A good core of their squad will have played to a very high standard domestically and they’re likely to bring that experience into the game.”
One of the stand-out performers for Hawick during this season’s BT Premiership and for Scotland during the Six Nations, Renwick, is due to start at hooker, while Edinburgh-bound Graham makes his ninth start for the Under20s on the right wing.
“We’re looking forward to playing New Zealand,” said Graham. “We know what they are like now. A lot of them have played Super Rugby, so we know it’s going to be a good challenge. We had Australia last year and came out with a win. It’s a big game, but we’re looking forward to it.”