Scotland Under-20s: What Gregor Townsend had to say about plight of young Scots after 13th defeat in a row

The plight of the Scotland Under-20 team has prompted Gregor Townsend to call for more to be done to help the country’s best young players cope with the rigours of pro rugby.

Scotland lost 55-17 to Georgia in the Under 20 Six Nations Summer Series in Treviso. Picture: ©INPHO/Ben Brady
Scotland lost 55-17 to Georgia in the Under 20 Six Nations Summer Series in Treviso. Picture: ©INPHO/Ben Brady

The issue was thrown into sharp focus on Wednesday when they lost 55-17 to Georgia in the Under-20 Six Nations Summer Series in Italy.

It was the young Scotland team’s 13th consecutive loss, a dismal run which includes back-to-back wooden spoon whitewashes in the U-20 Six Nations.

Townsend, who is in Argentina with the full Scotland team, questioned whether the level of competition the U-20 players are being exposed to domestically is strong enough.

“We obviously feel for them,” said the national coach. “We were watching their game on the bus on our way back from training yesterday, and when they went 12-0 up we were excited for them, because we know that Georgia are a quality side.

“But it has been a tough year, a tough 18 months for them following Covid. We’ve not done as well at that level, that’s clear, but there have also been some very good individuals, some very good performances, where they have learned as a group why it hasn’t worked this year and what we need to do better.”

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Scotland’s slide down the ranking has seen them relegated from the elite under-20 group and they will not compete in the World Rugby U-20 Championship next year. Instead, they will take part in the second-tier U-20 Trophy.

“We’ve got to look deeper at what we need to be doing at age-grade level, academy level, to support our players, challenge them and give them better competition,” added Townsend. “That’s probably the big lesson in all of this.

“You also have to remember it’s cyclical - our under-18s beat Italy in their game and were very close to beating England. At times, you get this but we have to keep looking at how best we get our young players through and how we’re preparing them for these competitions.”

The U-20s squad, coached by Kenny Murray, will face Ireland in a play-off to avoid last place in their final in the U20 Summer Series in Italy next week.


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