Scotland equalled their best finishing position of eighth in the World Rugby Under-20 Championship but there was disappointment for the young Scots as they lost to Wales in their final match yesterday at the Manchester City Academy Stadium.
Wales came into this tournament as Six Nations Grand Slam champions and yesterday, despite their mixed results in Manchester, the young Welshmen showed why they’re European champions by putting on a display of high quality running and passing skills allied to powerful forward play.
“We were disappointed with the result, but we lost ten of the original squad to injury,” said Scotland head coach John Dalziel. “But the upside was that we were able to expose our under-19s to this level of rugby today and that will be good for next year. At times we played some great rugby but also made a lot of errors.”
Impressive for Scotland were stand-off Adam Hastings, whose accurate passing and determined running created several opportunities, and centre Tom Galbraith, who has looked the part in this tournament. Another to post a good performance was flanker Lewis Wynn but Scotland struggled in the set scrum against a powerful set of Welsh forwards and, of course, without the professional presence of Zander Fagerson and his front-row cohort, Murray McCallum.
Wales scored three first-half tries by winger Jared Rosser, prop Dillon Lewis and stand-off Jarrod Evans, all converted by Evans, for a 21-7 lead at the break. Scotland’s points had come from a Robbie Nairn try that was converted by Hastings.
In the second half, strong running and clever passing from Wales produced a try for flanker Shane Lewis-Hughes and then a further touchdown for centre Joe Thomas, both efforts converted by Evans.
The Scots, however, responded positively with clever handling that ended with a penalty-created line-out and a catch and drive try scored by hooker Lewis Anderson.
A close-range score by flanker Alex Craig was then converted by Hastings but Wales countered when replacement full-back Joe Gage crossed the Scotland line and fellow sub Dan Jones made it a seven-pointer.