3 Gunners in U21 22
Scotland Under-21 coach Iain Paxton has announced his team to play France in the opening match of the shadow Six Nations Championship at Falkirk Stadium on Friday (3 February, kick-off 7pm).
With most of the starting line-up returning from last year, Paxton said: "Ryan Grant, Scott Newlands, Sean Crombie, John Barclay and Lee Kibble will all play in their first international game for Scotland Under-21 but the rest of the players are back from last year. We also have 10 players in the starting line-up who are involved with professional teams so it's an experienced side.
"It's helpful to have these players who are working Monday to Friday as professionals and who know the level of competition that we'll come up against. We have to be realistic about where we are because every game is going to be tough but we have the ability to go out and compete," he added.
Scotland Under-21 team to play France at the Falkirk Stadium in the shadow Six Nations on Friday 3 February, kick-off 7pm
15 Iain Kennedy (Glasgow Warriors, Glasgow Hawks and West of Scotland Institute of Sport)
14 Ben Addison (Stirling County and Central Institute of Sport)
13 Ben Cairns (Edinburgh Gunners, Currie and Scottish Institute of Sport)
12 Garry Law (Border Reivers)
11 Lee Kibble (Border Reivers, Biggar and East of Scotland Institute of Sport)
10 Dave Blair (Sale Sharks) CAPTAIN
9 Greig Laidlaw (Jed-Forest)
1 Ryan Grant (The Army)
2 Sean Crombie (Aberdeen GSFP and Grampian Institute of Sport)
3 David Young (Leicester Tigers)
4 James Eddie (Glasgow Warriors, Ayr and West of Scotland Institute of Sport)
5 Ian Nimmo (Leicester Tigers)
6 Scott Newlands (Heriot's and East of Scotland Institute of Sport)
8 John Barclay (Glasgow Warriors and Scottish Institute of Sport)
7 Alan MacDonald (Edinburgh Gunners and Scottish Institute of Sport)
16 Innes Brown (Stirling County and Tayside and Fife Institute of Sport)
17 Kyle Traynor (Edinburgh Gunners, Boroughmuir and East of Scotland Institute of Sport)
18 Michael Robertson (Hawick)
19 James Taggart (Currie)
20 Stephen Biggart (Glasgow Hawks)
21 James King (Border Reivers, Melrose and East of Scotland Institute of Sport)
22 Dave Whiteford (Melrose)
Falkirk to host both Scotland Under-21 internationals
Scotland Under-21 will play both their home internationals during the shadow Six Nations at the Falkirk Stadium.
Scotland Under-21 take on France on Friday 3 February before the Auld Enemy come to Falkirk on Friday 24 February. Both matches will kick-off at 7pm.
Scotland Under-21 played at the Falkirk Stadium last year for the first time and in doing so recorded their first victory over Ireland, winning 16-8, before going on to finish third overall in the championship. It was the first rugby match to be played on the ground's state of the art surface which was specially designed to withstand the demands of various sports events.
Scotland Under-21 coach Iain Paxton said: "Last year was a fantastic event on an evening such as it was - the heavens opened but the pitch held up very well and the supporters were able to enjoy the game from the comfort of the stand. It is an excellent facility and ideal for matches of such importance. To play both games in Falkirk is a great advantage for the players in terms of offering consistency during our preparations.
"We're looking forward to playing at the stadium once again and we hope to see a large crowd from the local community and further afield there to support Scotland's young players. I received a call from the Howe of Fife club saying that they're bringing a bus-full so we're expecting a great atmosphere at both games.
"If we maintain or make a nudge forward on last year's effort when we finished third overall in the championship, then we'll be very pleased with our progress. The teams we play are always going to be competitive but to open against France in Falkirk is probably the best start we could ask for," he added.
Peter Eadie, Chief Executive of The Falkirk Stadium Ltd, said: "We were delighted when Scottish Rugby approached us to once again host the Scotland U21 shadow Six Nations home fixtures. Part of our role at the Falkirk Stadium is to create opportunities for new events, other than football, and these highly prestigious international rugby fixtures are an excellent example of such an event."
David Alexander, leader of Falkirk Council, said: "It's great to see the Falkirk Stadium building on the success of last year's event and securing these two Under-21 internationals. As the stadium gains more and more recognition as a fantastic sporting venue, we are confident that major events will line up to use these modern facilities and show that Falkirk can host top level sports from across the country."
Tickets for Scotland's two Under-21 internationals are priced at £10 for adults and £5 for concessions (under-18s, students and OAPs). They are available online at www.scottishrugby.org; by calling the ticket hotline on 0131 346 5100 or in person from the Scottish Rugby Ticket Centre at Murrayfield Stadium.