The Scotland U20s begin their age-grade rugby Six Nations campaign this Friday evening and we’re delighted to see that four former Stewart’s Melville College pupils have been selected for the squad taking part in the showpiece event!
Back-row Connor Boyle, stand-off Ross Thompson and wingers Jacob Lineen and Jack Blain have all been selected by Head Coach Carl Hogg, having impressed in the various training camps of late and for their clubs and universities.
Our Head of Rugby at SMC, Stuart Edwards, worked closely with the quartet at school as they made their way to this level - and he believes they can all make their mark on the tournament.
“It is great to see four former pupils playing at this level and especially for the younger boys coming through the school they are great role models for them to look up to. It’s all very exciting,” said Edwards - who played against the U20 team for the Scotland Club XV last week.
“Connor (Boyle) has got the potential to be a really top player. He played with the U20s when he was still at school last year and I think he’s taken the confidence from that experience into senior rugby. Connor has a drive and intensity that I haven’t really seen before in someone that age and he is a strong, athletic guy.
“Having played for Glasgow Hawks for the past couple of years as well as with the U20s last year, Ross (Thompson) is pretty experienced now so he knows what it’s all about. As a stand-off myself I enjoyed working with Ross at school and now his all-round game is even better - his ability to read a game and manage a backline from number 10 is impressive.
“Jacob Lineen has real pace to burn as he showed a number of times for the school and he is always willing to listen and learn. Jacob has got his head down at Durham University while enjoying his rugby and he is a dangerous player with ball in hand.
“At just 18, Jack Blain is a real mercurial talent. He is one of the best athletes the school has produced in recent times. He was a good cricketer too and although he is quite a laid-back guy, he is very driven and determined to do well and he has the build that ideally a modern day back three player would have.
I wish all four of the guys from the school, and indeed the whole U20 Scotland squad, all the best in the tournament which will no doubt be entertaining.”
The U20s Six Nations is running from February 1 to March 15, with the Scotland U20 team opening against Italy at Netherdale in Gala tomorrow evening.
It’s fantastic to see that Connor Boyle has been named captain for that game, a great honour, while Ross Thompson is vice-captain, and Jack Blain is on the wing. Go well, boys!
Article by Gary Heatly