Craig Chalmers returns to fold as Scotland A take on England
Scotland A will face their English counterparts in the Borders on the eve of next February’s Calcutta Cup clash, in a fixture which will see Melrose coach Craig Chalmers return to the national set-up.
It will be the first time Scotland have faced the team, now branded England Saxons, north of the border since a 6-6 draw in Stirling in 2002.
Scotland A will have a new coaching team for the fixture, with Edinburgh head coach Michael Bradley succeeding Nick Scrivener, who returned to his native Australia at the end of last season.
Chalmers, Scotland’s most capped stand-off, will be Bradley’s assistant, alongside Stevie Scott, who during his playing days was a favourite at Netherdale and, nearby, at the Greenyards. Scott is a former Scotland hooker and is now forwards coach at Sale Sharks.
Although Chalmers is one of Scottish club rugby’s most successful coaches, he was dropped as a coach of the Scotland under-20 team last year, after an embarrassing incident at the Melrose Sevens which led to him spending a night in the police spells.
Director of performance rugby Graham Lowe said: “Michael brings a huge amount of experience to the role and in Stevie and Craig we have two up and coming Scottish coaches who are building experience at higher levels with every game.
“It’s a great mix to have. We feel they can get the best out of those who are on the fringes of the national side. We are striving to drive up performance at all levels of the game and for those selected for the A squad it’s a real chance to shine and make a name for themselves on the international stage.
“We need coaches who can bring the best out of the talent selected and we believe with Michael, Craig and Stevie, we’ve got the coaches who can do that.” Chalmers said: “I’m delighted to receive the chance to work with Michael Bradley and Stevie Scott. It is a step up the ladder and a chance for me to show what I can do at this level.
“I’m excited by the prospect of working with the players at Scotland A level and I hope that I can learn a lot from this game and play my part in getting a win against the Saxons.”
Scott said: “It will be a great experience to work with Michael and Craig and I hope I can bring some of what I’ve learned at Sale in the English Premiership to the set-up. I don’t often get the chance to get back to Scotland so the fact the game is in the Borders is just an extra incentive to do well.”
Admission to the match will be free, as it is with all Scotland age-grade and representative fixtures announced yesterday.
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