Scotland under-20 head coach, Peter Wright, has named a 40-man squad today to prepare for the forthcoming RBS 6 Nations.
The squad is bigger than in previous years and will be in camp at Murrayfield until Friday 20 January.
In an interview with www.scottishrugby.org, he said: “It’s necessary to bring together a bigger core group for the forthcoming under-20s matches because of the quality of players we have in this age group.
“As well as bringing back seven players from last year’s squad, who will bring experience to the side we are introducing a number of exciting young talents from Scotland under-18 and Scotland 7s.
“I’m keen to give as many of these players game time and a chance to impress.”
Alex Allan, Mark Bennett, Mitch Eadie, Robin Hislop, Harry Leonard, Jamie Stevenson and Jamie Swanson all return to the squad.
Meanwhile, coming in from last season’s Scotland under-18 squad are Tommaso Allan, Russell Anderson, Chris Auld, Jamie Bhatti, Will Bordill, Jamie Farndale, Robbie Fergusson, Johnny Gray, Alex Henderson, Adam Sinclair, Scott Steel and Callum Templeton.
There are players from all over the world in the squad, including those from unlikely sources – Nudgee College Schoolboys, Western Province – mixed with the usual selection of Scottish and English clubs. There are also a few pros too, which is refreshing.
Since last year Harry Leonard has become a regular fixture in Edinburgh squads this season and recently announced an extension to his contract. He’s joined by fellow capital player Robin Hislop, while Mark Bennett has also been in the pro environment; although less successfully, having been blighted by injury during his time at Clermont.
Scotland under-20s begin their RBS 6 Nations campaign on Friday 3 February against England under-20 at Firhill in Glasgow, kick-off 7.30pm.
They will then travel to Wales on Friday 10 February before playing France under-20s at Netherdale, Galashiels on Friday 24 February (kick-off 7.30pm). After taking on Ireland under-20s on Friday 9 March their campaign culminates with a match against Italy under-20s on Friday 16 March.
Wright continued: “We’re really looking forward to the challenge that the Six Nations will bring, playing against some of the best talent at this level.
“The competition will also help us work towards the under-20s Rugby World Cup in South Africa later this year, where we will be up against the best teams in the world.”
Scotland under-20 squad:
Backs: Tommaso Allan (Western Province), Chris Auld (Gala), Mark Bennett (Clermont Auvergne), Jack Bradford (Nottingham Rugby), Michael Crawley (Boroughmuir), Jamie Farndale (Edinburgh Accies), Robbie Fergusson (Ayr), Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Heriot’s), Rory Hughes (Glasgow Hawks), Harris Jones (Boroughmuir), Harry Leonard (Edinburgh Rugby), Murray McConnell (Glasgow Warriors), Alistair Price (Bedford Blues), Finn Russell (Falkirk), Jack Steele (Dundee HSFP), Scott Steele (Leicester Tigers), Jamie Stevenson (London Scottish), Peter Stewart (Nudgee College Schoolboys).
Forwards: Alex Allan (Loughborough Students), Russell Anderson (Gala), Adam Ashe (Stirling County), Jamie Bhatti (Stirling County), Will Bordill (Sale Sharks), Struan Cessford (Heriot’s), Mitch Eadie (Bristol Rugby), Gary Graham (Gala), Johnny Gray (Hamilton), Alex Henderson (Boroughmuir), Robin Hislop (Edinburgh Rugby), Andrew Nagle (Jedforest), Andrew Redmayne (Dundee HSFP), Callum Reid (Edinburgh Accies), Gavin Robertson (Dundee HSFP), Fergus Scott (Currie), Adam Sinclair (Stirling County), Stuart Smith (Aberdeen Grammar), Tom Steven (Glasgow Hawks), Jamie Swanson (Boroughmuir), Callum Templeton (Ayr), George Turner (Stewart’s Melville).