Two Heriot’s Blues Men players have been selected for the Scotland U20 squad with other members of the team forming part of the recent FOSROC Regional Academy intake.
Finn McIlwraith and Duncan Hood both received a call up to the 36 player Scotland U20 squad, attending the first training camp earlier this month.
Duncan has also been included in this season’s Stage One and Two FOSROC Regional Academy programme with 90 other players including Heriot’s Blues Men teammates Callum Anderson and Archie Bogle.
In June, Heriot’s Rugby Super6 players Dan Gamble, Charlie Jupp, Jack Mann and Scott King were announced as full-time Contracted Academy (or Stage Three) players, aligned with Edinburgh Rugby.
As players involved in the Scotland U20s, Finn and Duncan, have been granted elite sport dispensation from the Scottish Government to prepare for an intended U20 Six Nations in 2021.
Finn is not new to representing Scotland in age grade rugby having previously been selected in the U16, U17, U19 squads and is looking forward to the opportunities of the U20s squad.
‘‘The age grade camps have really helped develop my game,’’ he said.
‘‘The coaching is great and they really help me pick apart my game during training and help me take stuff away to improve on. It makes me more confident going back to games and training with Heriot’s.’’
The U20s squad has given Finn something to focus towards during a difficult season with no rugby games and restricted training.
‘‘It’s hard not being able to play games, and not being able to have the social aspect of rugby as well,’’ he said.
‘‘I feel lucky that being part of the U20s squad makes us one of the only teams in the country to be able to do full contact rugby when in camp.’’
Duncan, who played for Heriot’s Rugby as the youngest player to debut in the FOSROC Super6 as a 17-year-old in January, is excited to learn as much as he can from the training camps.
He has also enjoyed previous representative honours during his rugby career with selection for Edinburgh U16, Scotland U16 and Scotland U17 squads.
‘‘I feel that in the environment of the age grade setups you’re always pushed quite hard. You also have the benefit of being coached by quite a few different people so you get a wider perspective of the game,’’ Duncan said.