DAN LANCASTER, the son of former England head coach Stuart Lancaster, has been named in the Scotland Under-18 squad to play against Wales at Murrayfield on Sunday [kick-off: 11.30am]. The Yorkshire Carnegie Academy/ Bishop Burton College midfielder is one of 26 players selected by head coach Iain Monaghan having impressed at a training camp at the end of February.
The youngster will be following in his father’s footsteps. Lancaster senior played for Scotland Under-19 and also for Scottish Students against England. The Scottish qualification comes through Stuart’s Dumfries-born mother.
Lancaster’s selection is the latest twist an intriguing game of cat-and-mouse being played out between the SRU and their English counterparts the RFU. The Scottish organisation have made a lot of noise about their ‘SQ’ [Scottish Qualified] scheme, which aims to scour the world to identify and recruit the best players with a tartan tinge in order to bolster the country’s player resources. But England head coach Eddie Jones recently demonstrated that two can play at that game, when he called Newcastle Falcons flanker Gary Graham – a former Scotland under-20 cap; son of former Scotland prop and coach George; and brother of current Scotland Under-20 star Guy – into his Six Nations squad.
The Under-18s will also play against England at Bridgehaugh next Sunday before taking part in the 6 Nations Festival in Wales at the end of the month.
One notable omission from the squad is flanker Connor Boyle, who has been named on the bench for the Scotland Under-20 side which will take on Ireland at Donnybrook in Dublin tomorrow [Friday] night.
Interestingly, there are no players from Stirling County in the squad, despite the fact that they finished at the summit of the top-level – ‘Shogun’ – Under-18 Conference this season and have also reached the final of the National Youth League Under-18 Cup [playing against Ayr on 25th March].
“We’re looking forward to getting the group together properly and seeing where we are at physically, technically and tactically for the challenges that lie ahead,” said Monaghan.
“We work very closely with the clubs, schools and BT Sport Academies to make sure we have regular contact with the U18 and U17 groups throughout the year, but the focus on these individuals’ development intensifies post-Christmas when a lot of the school and club fixtures are moving to friendlies and sevens.”
“The Wales U18 players come with a good skill-set and understanding of the game, so we’ll be learning on the move as we play against them, but we can definitely look forward to a huge physical battle and one which will hopefully bring a lot of tries.”
Scotland U18 squad to play Wales U18 at BT Murrayfield (Back Pitches), Sunday 11 March (kick-off 11.30am) – FREE ENTRY –
Thomas Jeffrey * (Peebles)
Mak Wilson * (Duns)
Daniel Gamble * (Kelso / Merchiston Castle School)
Ashley Sinton (Newcastle Falcons / Gosforth High School)
Rory S Jackson (Edinburgh Academy)
Scott Clelland * (Ayr)
Tyler Thomas (Merchiston Castle School)
Tom Morris (Dollar Academy)
Kieran Watt (Watsonians)
James Barker (Newcastle Falcons / Gosforth HS)
Gavin Wilson * (Dumfries Saints)
Archie Smeaton (Yorkshire Carnegie / Hymers College)
Alex Marsh (Strathallan School)
Cammy Brown (Kelso)
Luhann Kotze* (Biggar)
Jamie Dobie * (Merchiston Castle School)
Nathan Chamberlain (Bristol / SGS College)
Dan Lancaster (Yorkshire Carnegie / Bishop Burton College)
Scott Robeson (George Heriot’s School)
Ollie Smith * (Strathallan School)
Jack Blain* (Stewart’s Melville College)
Rufus McLean (Merchiston Castle School)
Callum Hoffie (George Watson’s College)
Charlie Hudson (St Peter’s York)
Matt Kindness* (Kelso)
Matthew Currie (Merchiston Castle School)
*BT Sport Academy Player Supported Player