Scotland produced a strong and encouraging performance in yesterday's under-18 international at Dalziel but ultimately could not prevent England from continuing their run of victories over the Scots at this age level.
But there is now real evidence that this current group of under-18s has the potential to achieve results and moreover to supply a number of players to the professional ranks.
The scoreline, inflated by two England tries in injury time, certainly did not reflect Scotland's share of the game. Throughout, the Scots contested the forward battle on equal terms and behind the scrum, where Scotland were forced to make a late change. The Strathallan centre Josh Laird, replacing warm-up casualty George Taylor, threatened on several occasions to pierce England's tank-proof defence.
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Scotland came desperately close to a try when replacement wing Reuben Norville tried to gather the ball on England's line only for the London Irish player to knock on. "If we had got that score then we would have been up to 13-18 on full time," said Scotland head coach Eddie Pollock. "We've got to learn that you have to play for the whole seventy minutes. But you have to give England credit for the ambition they showed in injury time."
The Scots were very much in the game at half-time with the scoreline at 6-11, centre Adam Hastings having kicked two penalty goals and England having garnered their points from two Harry Mallinder penalties and a try by winger Rotimi Segun.
Scotland looked positive in the second half but from a decisive break by England scrum half Alex Mitchell, flanker Sam Underhill was put in the clear, Mallinder's conversion widening the gap. Then, in injury time, tries by replacement Charlie Thacker and stand-off Joe Marchant signed off the England victory.