Future looks bright for Sean Lineen’s sensational Scotland Under-20 players
The youngsters scored seven tries to end their age-grade Six Nations campaign on a high with a 52-17 win in Colwyn Bay.
After a poor year in 2019, head coach Sean Lineen, ably assisted by Shade Munro and Kris Burney, took over the under-20s programme and their impact has been instant.
Four of the countries still have the Six Nations championship to finish, but Scotland clocked up 13 points from their five games having posted only six to finish bottom of the table 12 months ago.
As a result, when the Coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis is under control, this squad can now look forward to a bright future and they will be aiming to blast away the opposition at the World Trophy, currently set for September in Spain, and get back to the top table of age-grade rugby straight away.
So, who are the young starlets to watch for? Here are five Scotland under-20 players with bright futures:
The Sale Sharks man, born in Canada and turning 20 next month, was the top scorer from hooker with seven tries in the World Championship in 2019 and he has taken that form into 2020.
He works hard at his set piece and is great around the park, a very athletic No 2 like current Scotland caps Stuart McInally, Fraser Brown and George Turner.
Previously had loan spell with Edinburgh Rugby and the time spent learning under Richard Cockerill can only have helped him.
The 20-year-old second-row has played for the last two years for the under-20s and over the last couple of months has adapted very well to a leadership role.
A level-headed character who grew up in Hong Kong, then spent the final four years of his school life at Strathallan, his lineout work is excellent and he is now bringing more controlled aggression to his play.
A member of the Scottish Rugby Academy who trains with Glasgow and plays for Stirling County in the Super6.
The back-row man played for the under-20s two years ago when he was still at Stewart’s Melville College, tells you all you need to know about his talent, captained the side during tough times, but never shirked from the challenge and last week Lineen said he and the current under-20s skipper Rory Darge are “special players”.
A real fetcher at openside in the mould of Hamish Watson, his work at the breakdown is exemplary.
Bang in form right now, he scored 32 points against Wales on Friday. Like Ashman, Henderson and Boyle, he learned lessons from last year’s ups and downs and has emerged a far better game manager and a good reader of the game. Also a solid kicker.
Turned 20 on Saturday and is already on the books at English pro side Bristol Bears while playing club rugby for Hartpury.
Played at centre previously, but has found his most potent position at full-back now.
The 19-year-old played in the same school team as Henderson at Strathallan and has shown great footwork and eye for a gap from 15.
A very competent defender and good organiser of those in front of him, this Academy talent who trains with the Warriors and plays in the Super6 now has an air of confidence and belief which he perhaps lacked last year.
His next target – an achievable one – is to get a sniff at the Glasgow 15 jersey.
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