Tom Marshall made an instant impact with the Scotland under-20s when he scored two tries in a comfortable win over Old Glory DC – and now the back-row is keen to make his mark on the World Championship in Argentina.
The young Scots, coached by Ospreys-bound Carl Hogg, are in Washington this week preparing for the showpiece event which begins early next week.
During their stint of training, they played a match against Old Glory DC, the club Scottish Rugby have invested in, on Monday evening and won 70-7, scoring ten tries in the process.
They will face a much tougher test in their Pool C opener against South Africa in Rosario next Tuesday, but one player who has certainly staked a claim to start against the Baby Boks is Newcastle Falcons’ Marshall, right, who impressed Hogg while playing for Tynedale in English National League Division Two.
“I have also been playing for the Falcons A team this season and really enjoyed that,” the 19-year-old said.
“My mum Louise is Scottish, being from Glasgow, I had been to a few of the England [age-grade] things, but wasn’t really getting much of an opportunity and then this chance with Scotland came up. So, I jumped at it and I have been really lucky and have made the World Championship squad.
“I was quite close to England stuff, but as soon as I found out there was a chance with Scotland I was very keen and really wanted some game time. I was in the England wider squad during the Six Nations and then I came into this Scotland group and played in the development game against France and that was my first involvement.
“At school I used to play stand-off/centre and a lot in the backs, but I got too slow for that! I prefer No 8, but this season I have mainly played six or seven.
“The lads have been really welcoming, they are a good set of boys. There is good depth and good variety in the back-row. It will be tough to get into the side, it is very competitive.
“This Washington stint is key to help us all really focus ahead of the tournament. The new boys like me will be able to bond during this week with everyone else while the guys who played last year can let us know what to expect.”
Hogg, himself a former back-row, said of Marshall: “Tom is slightly different to what we already had in the squad. He’s a real footballer, a converted centre, and he’s got real pace and power coming on to the ball, so that will be a really useful asset for us. He’s got the ability to use his feet and use the ball to evade tacklers and get over the gain line. He’s always been on our radar.”