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Kelbrick: New caps ready for Irish challenge

Dean Kelbrick, the Ayr centre, may only be 29 but he feels like a veteran in a Scotland Club XV squad featuring 16 uncapped players to take on their Irish counterparts on Friday night, writes Gary Heatly.

The South African-born player arrived in Scotland for the 2010/11 campaign and has impressed with his strong running style at Glasgow Hawks and Ayr, having earned six Club XV caps in the past three years and was in the side that beat Ireland 30-18 at Millbrae last year. However, the Scots have lost all four matches in Ireland, since the contest started in 2006.

Kelbrick, who lines up alongside Gala's Edinburgh Elite Development Player Chris Auld at centre, said: "Ireland are tough to play and I am expecting another hard match. They will have a decent crowd behind them while a lot of our team are pretty young, although, having trained with them and played against them in the RBS Premiership, I am confident they will be ready for the challenge."

The stock of the Club XV matches - Scotland have played Ireland eight times, France five times and Wales once - has risen among players and, with EDPs from the pro sides in the mix, the head coach Phil Leck, of Hawick, had his hand strengthened considerably.

Kelbrick, who works in rugby development for Glasgow Life, said: "There is a lot of competition for places. It is an honour to play in representative games and come together with guys from other clubs to represent Scotland."

The starting XV boasts a meagre 14 caps among 15 players: Kelbrick's six augmented by two each for winger Craig Gossman, scrum-half Peter Jericevich, captain Murray Douglas and back-row Andrew Nagle. Brothers Gary and George Graham from Gala, both on the bench, have three caps between them, making the entire squad's haul a modest 17 in total.

RBS Premiership leaders Melrose have two players in the squad, Gala six and Ayr seven.

TEAM. Scotland Club XV (v Ireland Club XV, Cork Consitution FC, Friday, 7.30)

* N Godsmark (Edinburgh Accies); * E Oag (Aberdeen Grammar), * C Auld (Gala/Edinburgh), D Kelbrick (Ayr), C Gossman (Ayr); * R Mill (Melrose), P Jericevich (Ayr); * G Hunter (Ayr/Glasgow Warriors), * G Turner (Heriot's/Edinburgh), * E McQuillin (Gala/Edinburgh), M Douglas (Heriot's), * C Templeton (Ayr), A Nagle (Melrose), * W Bordill (Stirling County/Glasgow Warriors), * J Swanson (Stirling County)

Substitutes * R Sutherland (Gala), * N Cox (Ayr), * F Scott (Ayr/Glasgow Warriors), Gary Graham (Gala), * A Redmayne (Glasgow Hawks/Glasgow Warriors), George Graham (Gala), * S Edwards (Stirling County), * G Sommerville (Gala)

* denotes debutant

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