THE Scotland under-18 selectors concluded their survey of young talent yesterday at Murrayfield where Scottish Exiles produced a strong second-half performance that should strengthen their claims for places in the national team.
Scorers: Scotland Select; Tries Sim, Bulger; Pen Swan. Scottish Exiles; Tries Norville, Hutchison, McConnell; Con Lang; Pens Lang (2)
“The Exiles were the stronger side towards the end of the match,” said Scotland under-18 coach, Eddie Pollock, “but they did have some under-19 player to bolster their side. I’m pleased that this was a very competitive game. We’ve certainly learned a lot today.”
Exiles were particularly impressive in the backs where scrum-half Ben Vellacot, stand-off James Lang, centre Rory Hutchison, wing Reuben Norville and full-back Ruaridh Smith all posted positive performances that could result in call-ups for the side to face England at Darlington a week on Sunday.
London Scottish stand-off Lang showed mature control in directing what was a pacy Exiles backline and, moreover, demonstrated his skills as a goal-kicker. In the absence of the injured George Horne, Lang would seem a strong bet for the pivot position.
Scotland Select had much the better of the exchanges in the early part of the first half and deservedly took the lead when they worked the ball across the field for Duns wing Ian Sim to race in at the corner for an unconverted try. Lang and Alex Swan exchanged penalties before the Exiles got back with a try from plundered ball and accurate passing by Vellacot and Lang that gave winger Reuben Norville, a Scotland under-16 cap, the chance to show his clever running skills that resulted in a try.
After the break, it was the Exiles who dominated up front and when Hutchison received choice ball, the centre sidestepped his way to the tryline. The Select side, however, hit back and, from open play, the Marr College lock Euan Bulger showed good pace to score his side’s second try. But it was Exiles who finished strongly with a Lang penalty and then a gem of a try made by Lang’s pass, the pace of Smith, support from centre James Francis and the finishing of Grant McConnell, Lang adding the conversion.
Scotland Select: G Currie (Edinburgh Academy); B Cochrane (Dundee High School), A Swan (Edinburgh Academy), S Halliday (Peebles), I Sim (Duns); D Swanson (Edinburgh Academy), A Manson (Stewart’s-Melville College); G Robertson (Gala Academy/Gala Wanderers), S Govan (Stirling County), A Wallace (Deeside), E Bulger (Marr College), L Carmichael (North Berwick HS), R Knott (Loretto School), R Harrison (Peebles HS/Peebles), B Johnstone (Marr College) Subs used R Paterson (North Berwick HS), C Gouldie (Dumfries), Z Fagerson (Strathallan School), A Leishman (Stirling County), B Flett (Merchiston CS), P Ramsay (Kilmarnock), M Douglas (Hawick YM/Gosforth Academy), A Rennie (Aberdeen Grmmar)
Scotland Exiles: N R Smith (Oakham/Northampton); L Baker (Whitgift), C Hughes (Rydal Penros/North Wales Academy), R Hutchison (Epsom vCollege/Harlequins), R Norvell (St Pauls/London Irish), J Lang (London Scottish), B Vellacot (Ivybridge/Exeter); S Kenny (St Lawrence/Saracens), F Brown (Rutlish HS), R Mason (Ashfield (Paviors), N Gray (Trent College), F McCorquodale (Ampleforth), R Tait (Millfield/Bath), S Cannon (Gosforth HS/Newcastle Falcons), J McRae (Eton/London Irish) Subs used C Miller (Moulton College/Northampton), J Reason (Dulwich College/Saracens), C Sheildon (Queen Elizabeth/Newcastle Falcons), B Richardson (London Irish), P Nicol (Ampleforth), J Francis (Epsom College/Harlequins), O Jarvie (Wellington College NI), O Murray (Rossal/St Helens RL), G McConnell (Millfield/Bath)
Referee: D Shaw