Scotland under-18 rise to fourth place in Europe

Scotland's under-18 squad were defeated by Ireland this afternoon (40-0) but finish the FIRA-AER Justin Bridou elite division championship with a fourth ranking in Europe, one position higher than last year.

Upwards of 12,000 watched the 3rd/4th play-off at Grenoble's Stade des Alpes where the Scots were unable to match their win over Wales and their performance against England earlier in the week.

Head coach Eddie Pollock said: "We were just outplayed - we were a yard off the pace, made a lot of errors and didn't get a lot of go-forward. Despite the score today, we were very pleased with the efforts from the players and all the good work done by the management and coaches during the programme this year."

Scotland kicked off and won the first lineout on Ireland's 22, going on to make a number of good attacks but the Irish scored the first try, converted after seven minutes. An offside for Ireland gave the Scots another penalty and another lineout on the 22, then after 20 minutes the Irish were penalised for a player coming in at the side, giving Scotland a chance to put points on the board but the kick went wide.

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Ireland missed a similar penalty attempt minutes later but crossed in the corner for another try on the 25m mark, adding another plus conversion just before half time, to make it 17-0.

The restart saw a number of scrums take place before a period of possession for Ireland resulted in another try, duly converted.

Some good kicks from scrum half Ben Vellacott and stand-off James Lang resulted in some progress upfield but the action soon returned to the other end of the pitch as the Irish crossed after 54m, the score converted. Six minutes later the Irish pack ploughed across the line, the try again converted.

With ten minutes to go, the Scots were under pressure but managed to retain ball until the whistle, the final score 40-0.

Pollock said: "It was very disappointing, obviously; compared to our other performances it was a really disappointing performance in a stadium so full of people. We had lots of unforced errors and didn't get any go-forward."

With an expected attendance of around 20,000 and 13,000 tickets sold in advance of the game, this was easily the biggest crowd the team had played before.

Pollock said: "There was a fantastic atmosphere in the stadium, it was like being in a Test match with the pipe band and the singing of Flower of Scotland, the whole thing was just tremendous and an unforgettable experience for our guys.

"The reality is that we finished fourth, we were presented with medals and we beat Wales and ran England really close in the process. Today was a big learning curve - make too many mistakes and people score. Being able to deal with loss after dealing with the positives of the last few weeks is the harsh reality of learning too."

Scotland under-18 v Ireland under-18, Justin Bridou elite division FIRA-AER championship 2013

15. Gavin Lowe (Ayr) *
14. Ruaraidh Smith (Oakham School)
13. Archie Russell (Stirling County)
12. Richard Taylor (Loretto/Melrose) * (c)
11. Angus Rennie (Gordon Schools Huntly/Aberdeen GSFP)
10. Henry Slater (Merchiston Castle School)
9. Ben Vellacott (Ivybridge College/Barnstable)
 
1. Reece Patterson (North Berwick HS)
2. Ross Graham (Hawick PSA)
3. Angus Wallace (Aberdeen GSFP)
4. Lewis Carmichael (North Berwick HS/North Berwick)
5. Neil Irvine-Hess (George Watson's College) *
6. Scott Burnside (North Berwick HS) *
7. Rory Simpson (Edinburgh Academy)

8. Ally Miller (George Watson's College) *

Substitutes
16. Grant Stewart (Dalziel) *


17. Cameron Fenton (Strathallan/Howe of Fife) * (on for Patterson, 32m)
18. Rory Mason (Ashfield Academy/Paviors) (on for Wallace, 53m)
19. James Ritchie (Strathallan) * (on for Miller, 35m)
20. Magnus Bradbury (Merchiston Castle School/Oban Lorne)
21. Ben Johnston (Marr College) * (on for Graham, 16m)
22. Luke Earle-Wright (Robert Gordon's College/Aberdeen GSFP)(on for Vellacott, 56m)
23. James Lang (London Scottish) (on for Slater, 35m)

24. 
Iain Sim (Duns) (on for Smith, 56m)
25. Rory Watt (Edinburgh Accies)

26. Gavin Parker (Merchiston Castle School/Biggar) (on for Lowe, 64m)

Not considered due to injury: Andrew McWilliam (Edinburgh Academy/Currie) *; George Horne (Strathallan/Howe of Fife) * ; Karl Main (Dunbar GS/Dunbar) *
*Scottish Institute of Sport supported player 2012/13