Scotland under-20 have finished their IRB Junior World Championship campaign, in Cape Town, on a high this afternoon, beating Samoa’s Under-20 side 62-28 at the University of the Western Cape.
The young Scots scored nine tries and finished the tournament in ninth place, one place above last year and their highest finish in eight years. But for a few more taken chances against Argentina or France and it could have been even higher.
Head coach Peter Wright (who is “stepping down” at the end of the season) said: “This was a great team performance. We stood out particularly at the set piece and our dominant start stood us in good stead for the rest of the match.”
At the conclusion of the match, Edinburgh Rugby colleagues Harry Leonard and Jamie Farndale led the top-points scorer table for the tournament and the top try-scoring table, respectively. Leonard scored 54 points in the campaign and sits 13 points ahead of Wales’s Tom Pyrdie, with the Welsh still to play their final game.
The impressive Farndale touched down six times throughout the Scots’ five matches and is three ahead of his nearest rival. All three southern hemisphere sides have still to play their last fixture but someone would need a hat-trick to catch up. The Baby Boks and Junior All Blacks are playing in front of 30,000 in the final but it may not be a high-scoring affair.
Other players who caught the eye during the tournament were Clermont centre Mark Bennett (rested in the latter stages due to injury) and Bristol’s Mitch Eadie who is exactly the sort of bruiser at Number 8 that Scotland are currently looking for. Finn Russell played well at 12 and he and Leonard were often interchangeable, allowing the Scots to keep their games structured but high tempo.
There’s a full match report up on www.scottishrugby.org and video highlights (courtesy of the IRB) below: