4 Gunners in U21 Squad for World Championship
Scotland Under 21 coach Iain Paxton has named his 26 man squad for the IRB Under 21 World Championships in Vichy, France, France this summer (5-25 June).
The squad includes 16 players connected with professional clubs and Paxton thinks that will provide a backbone of experience. Among the professionals are Edinburgh Gunners' back-row pairing of Alan MacDonald and Ross Rennie as well as prop Kyle Traynor and centre Ben Cairns.
On top of the players from the three Scottish pro-teams, the squad features an English club contingent of Leicester Tigers' David Young and Ian Nimmo; Sale Shark David Blair; and Newcastle Falcon Cameron Johnston.
Paxton said: "We have a nucleus of players who are currently involved with pro-rugby set-ups. This will provide a strong backbone for our squad and I'm looking for them to set the tone.
"I feel that right through this squad we have players who will be very competitive. A number of them played in the world championships in Mendoza, Argentina, Argentina last summer so they are aware of the intensity of this tournament. I'd expect those players to draw on their experience of that competition," he added.
Paxton has included four players that were not involved in this year's shadow Six Nations tournament. Rennie and scrum half Ciaran Beattie join the squad fresh from their experiences with Scotland 7s along with Watsonians' hooker Gregor Wood and Hillhead/Jordanhill lock Allan Kelly.
Paxton said: "Ross and Ciaran are new to the set-up by they will have a huge amount to offer from their time with Scotland 7s this season. It's a new experience for Gregor and Allan but one that I am sure they are ready for."
Scotland have been drawn against Australia (Friday 9 June, Vichy), Italy (Tuesday 13 June, Vichy) and England (Saturday 17 June, Riom) in the pool rounds of the Championship.
Paxton said: "Australia have already shown how competitive they are at age-grade level with their win over Scotland in the Under 19 championships last month while England won the shadow Six Nations earlier this year. We beat Italy out there during that tournament but we are under no illusions that this is a tough draw.
"This is potentially the last world championship at this level so we want to go out there and put down a final positive marker for Scotland Under 21s," he concluded.
SCOTLAND U21 SQUAD
PROPS: Innes Brown (Stirling County County and Fife & Tayside Institute of Sport), Ryan Grant (The Army), Kyle Traynor (Edinburgh Gunners, Boroughmuir and East of Scotland Institute of Sport), David Young (Leicester Tigers)
HOOKERS: Sean Crombie (Aberdeen GSFP and Grampian Institute of Sport), Gregor Wood (Watsonians)
LOCKS: James Eddie (Glasgow Warriors and Ayr), Allan Kelly (Hillhead/Jordanhill and West of Scotland Institute of Sport), Ian Nimmo (Leicester Tigers)
BACK-ROW: John Barclay (Glasgow Warriors and Scottish Institute of Sport), John Beattie (Glasgow Warriors and Scottish Institute of Sport), Alan MacDonald (Edinburgh Gunners and Scottish Institute of Sport), Scott Newlands (Heriot's and East of Scotland Institute of Sport), Ross Rennie (Edinburgh Gunners, Stewart's Melville FP and East of Scotland Institute of Sport)
SCRUM HALVES: Ciaran Beattie (Border Reivers, Selkirk and East of Scotland Institute of Sport), Greig Laidlaw (Jed-Forest)
STAND-OFFS: David Blair (Sale Sharks) CAPTAIN, James King (Border Reivers and Melrose)
CENTRES: Ben Cairns (Edinburgh Gunners, Currie and Scottish Institute of Sport), Chris Dunlop (Durham University University), Iain Kennedy (Glasgow Warriors and Glasgow Hawks), Garry Law (Border Reivers and Hawick)
BACK THREE: Ben Addison (Stirling County County and Central Scotland Institute of Sport), Robert Cairns (Boroughmuir), Cameron Johnston (Newcastle Falcons and Scottish Institute of Sport), Lee Kibble (Border Reivers and Biggar)
MANAGEMENT: John Jeffrey (manager), Iain Paxton (head coach), Greig Oliver (backs coach), Gary Mercer (defence coach), Neil McIlroy (assistant forwards coach and video analyst), Dr Jonathon Hanson (team doctor), Kath Carswell (physiotherapist)