The aim of the under-20 programme is to identify, develop and prepare young players to progress on to the full Scotland Women senior squad. This season the squad has been coached by Jules Maxton asisted by Donna Kennedy and Claire Cruikshank. In addition to weekend training camps and regular skills sessions, the team had fixtures against Finland Women at Lasswade and Hartpury College at Peffermill, Edinburgh.
In the squad's first match, the action took place on the upper pitch at Lasswade on Friday 22 February, prior to the senior side taking on Ireland Women on the main pitch. Sustained pressure and great risk-taking in attack - most of which came off! - led to the first try from captain and stand-off Lyndsay O'Donnell, which was converted by fullback Amanda Moore to put the home side ahead 7-0 early in the first half.
The Finnish fought back with the action see-sawing across the halfway line, though never threatening the Scottish tryline. The Scots girls had been instructed to 'go out and enjoy yourselves' by the coaching team and they certainly were as a second glorious score was added by lock Cat Syme. The conversion attempt was just out of range as the sides stopped at half time with the score 12-0.
As the second half got underway both sides were looking to tire after the frantic pace of the opening 40 minutes and mistakes slipped in. The Scots found their second wind midway through the half, however, and a real team effort saw no 8 Alex Read ended up at ground level to claim the try.
Unfortunately an awkward landing saw her leave the field as a precaution, after sustaining some bruising. The break in play caused momentum to be lost for a period and the Scots' conversion attempt came up short.
With the score at 17-0, Finland put their foot on the gas in the closing ten minutes and the try which had been threatening came (from captain Minna Raatikka), the score converted by Susanna Karvinen to make it 17-7 at full time. Head coach Jules Max
We knew it was going to be a test today as a lot of these players have never been in this environment before, so I'm absolutely delighted that they produced a win."
The girls' second and final outing of their short season, however, was not so successfull as they went down 70-0 to Hartpury College, a specialist sports college in England with a rugby academy for boys and girls.
The match was played over three 20-minute periods, in atrocious weather conditions. Though the Scotland girls fought hard, the experience of the English girls coupled with the fact that many of the Scots had played already that weekend in the Brewin Dolphin under-18 finals, they couldn't put points on the board.
If you are interest in representing Scotland in the Women U20 team you can download the registration form and then either email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or via post to Asti Farrell, International Team Coordinator, BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, EH12 5PJ.