Young Borders stars shine brightly in 
inter-city challenge

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UP TO NINE young Borders rugby stars could be called up to Scotland’s Under-18 double-header against England and Ireland next month after starring in a challenge match watched by a national team selector, writes Scott Thomson.

Five promising local players started for Edinburgh in their 15-5 win over Glasgow Warriors in the shadow of Murrayfield Stadium, with four more emerging from the bench as Eddie Pollock watched from the sidelines.

Pollock is charged with naming the national age-group squad for a clash against England at Darlington on Sunday, March 3, and a fixture on home soil against Ireland a week later.

He will have been impressed by Hawick PSA duo Matty Douglas and Ross Graham, as well as Richard Taylor of Melrose. Gavin Parker (Biggar) and Ian Sim (Duns) also started and performed well, while emerging from the bench were Gary Robertson of Gala Wanderers, Finlay Simpson of Hawick PSA, Struan Hutchison of Melrose, and Scott Halliday of Peebles.

Pollock said after the match: “It’s a steep learning curve for the guys over the next few weeks.

“We have England coming up, and they will be very physical. The match tonight was a good starting point for the boys.”

The Borders lads were named in an Edinburgh side also made up of players from in and around the capital, while Glasgow Warrior’s side featured the best players from Scotland’s second city and Caledonia league clubs.

Alasdair Mackie, the Glasgow No8, scored an unconverted try to give Warriors a half-time lead, but Scott Burnside levelled the score after the break with a touchdown, which was subsequently converted by Teri talent Douglas.

A superbly executed kick from midfield by Taylor of Melrose took Edinburgh from their own half to the Glasgow 5m line as they mounted the pressure on the visitors. Burnside claimed his second try of the match soon after.

Hawick High School pupil Simpson, on as a substitute, showed excellent strength to rip the ball out the hands of a Glasgow attacker as they attempted to force themselves into the match. Simpson did well to regain possession before playing a pass out wide to put his side on the attack.

Edinburgh then completed the scoring with a penalty from substitute Alex Swan.