Scotland Club International head coach Ally Donaldson has selected a squad of top club players for their match against France in Orleans next weekend (Friday 4 February, kick-off 6pm GMT).According to the press release:
The country’s top six Premier 1 sides man the match-day 22 with league champions Currie and cup holders Ayr making up half the squad – Ayr’s dominant forward play and Curries slick back play both recognised in selection.
While a familiar nucleus of the squad remains in tact, Donaldson has selected eight new faces in the 22: Ross Curle and Rob Colhoun of Ayr, Mathew Scott and Tom Brown of Currie, Andy Dymock of Dundee and Glasgow Hawks trio Nick Campbell, Eric Milligan and Dean Kelbrick.
He said: “I’m very happy with the squad. The players who have represented the side for the last couple of seasons bring a lot of experience and know the way to win these games, while we’ve also added some new faces who inject extra motivation and a renewed enthusiasm.
“All of the players are from the top-half of the post-split leagues andmany have experience of the British & Irish Cup which will help to bridge the gap between Premier 1 and Club International rugby, which is a step up in pace and physicality.
“We have a good mix of youth and experience and have picked a team we think can go to France and win.”
Fond memories of last season’s 13-9 victory over France at Netherdale will stand as a career highlight for many of the returning players however, for many, the trip to Orleans is a chance to right the narrow loss the season before (13-12).
Donaldson added: “Make no mistake, France are a very good team. When we played them two seasons ago it was a real step into the unknown. After 20 minutes we were hanging by a thread but credit to the players they clawed it back and only lost by a single point.
“To beat any French team in France takes massive physical and mental effort. You have to have a go but also keep your errors to a minimum because if you give them a sniff and allow them to get their confidence up you can be in real trouble.”
The Scotland Club International squad will train at Murrayfield on Monday 31 January and Wednesday 2 February before travelling to France the following day (Thursday 3 February).
The side will then return to Netherdale to take on Ireland on Friday 11 March (kick-off 7.30pm) – ADMISSION IS FREE.
Rob Colhoun, Andy Dunlop, Damien Kelly, Gordon Reid (all Ayr), Finlay Gillies, Ross Weston (both Currie), Alan Brown (Dundee), Nick Campbell, Rory McKay, Eric Milligan (all Glasgow Hawks), Alan Dymock (Heriot’s), John Dalziel (Melrose)
Ross Curle (Ayr), Richard Snedden, Tom Brown, Dougie Fife, Matt Scott (all Currie), Harry Duthie, Andy Dymock (both Dundee), Dean Kelbrick (Glasgow Hawks), Scott Wight, Fraser Thomson (both Melrose)