The U20 Six Nations might have been postponed until June, but that does not stand in the way of us taking a look at some of the young stars that we would have been keeping an eye out for in these late winter/early spring months.
At the start of the tournament we took a look at 6 England U20 stars to look out for, as it turns out one, George Martin, is now in the full England squad and another, Charlie Atkinson, is in the shadow squad.
Today we continue the series with six Scotland U20s to look out for, with the notable exception of the well-known young star, Jamie Dobie, who has already been called into the wider Scotland squad ahead of Sunday’s game against France. We’ve picked out 6 young players that should play major roles in Scotland’s U20s team this year and have the talent and physical attributes to progress into the pro game and become future stalwarts of the Scottish game.
Dan Gamble (Edinburgh, tighthead)
Dan Gamble looks set to become the cornerstone of the Scottish U20s scrum this year. Coming straight out of school, he impressed for Heriots in the Super 6 and this season has had 3 pro appearances for Edinburgh from the bench and not looked out of place.
The Merchiston Castle School product, originally from Kelso, looked set to start last season for the 20s before injuries derailed his progress. One year on, he looks even stronger in the scrum and his experiences training and playing for Edinburgh will have done wonders for his development. He should become a key figure in the squad as an anchor in the set piece as well as a physical presence in the loose.
Ben Muncaster (Edinburgh, back row)
Primarily a number 8, but with an all-round game and rare athleticism, Muncaster is one of the top prospects in Scottish rugby. After captaining the first XV at Rugby School in England and playing for the Leicester Tigers Academy, Muncaster was selected for Scotland U18s as well as an England U18s development squad in 2019 before returning north of the border to sign for Edinburgh.
Muncaster will be indispensable to this Scotland side as a ball carrier while also offering major contributions as a dominant defender and line out option especially with age grade stalwarts Rory Darge and Conor Boyle graduating to pro rugby last summer. Gregor Townsend clearly rates him too, with Muncaster currently invited to train alongside the senior Scotland squad.
Gregor Brown (Glasgow, back row)
Having forced his way into a starting spot for last season’s U20s in a competitive back row group, Gregor Brown will likely consolidate his place in the team at the blindside flanker spot. Standing at 6’4″, he looks to be developing into an ideal modern blindside – excellent in the line out, solid ball carrying and a crucial defensive operator, racking up tackles and threatening at the breakdown.
After leaving Robert Gordon’s College in Aberdeen, Brown joined the Glasgow academy and played for Boroughmuir Bears in the Super 6 competition – pushing his way into the side displaying physicality and surprising defensive nous for the semi-pro league. With Glasgow’s back row lacking depth, he is one to watch as a player who could be accelerated into the line-up next season as things stand.
Matthew Currie (Edinburgh, outside centre)
Our first back is another former Merchiston player. Matt Currie has been one to watch since he was part of the Scotland U18s side that won all their games at the 2018 festival despite being only 17 and the raft of older talent in that side.
Last season, he again started for the 20s despite being a year younger than most of his teammates and at 6’3″ and with top end pace and footwork, he has the physical skills to go far as a pro player and potential internationalist. Currie has been namechecked by both Duncan Hodge and Richard Cockerill as one to watch and could force his way into contention at the club next season after recently making his pro debut from the bench and being called in to train alongside the Scotland squad.
Harry Paterson (Edinburgh, wing/fullback)
Arguably the standout back (along with Jamie Dobie) for the Scotland U18s in 2019, Paterson has an incredibly well-rounded skillset that is ideal for fullback and allows him to offer an extra dimension when playing on the wing. He is an electric runner and counter attacker with the ability to power through arm tackles coupled with a quality kicking game.
Paterson played on the wing for the U20s last season after injuries to Jack Blain and Rufus McLean and with another year under his belt (and some added bulk on his tall frame), the former Fettes College prospect should be a key figure in the backfield and contribute as an excellent goal kicker to boot.
Scott King (Edinburgh, inside centre)
Delivering the ideal combination with Matt Currie at 13, Scott King has the size to carry at 12 as well as being an excellent distributor. King played for Heriots in the Scottish Premiership while still a schoolboy at Preston Lodge High School before joining the Edinburgh Academy and playing for them in the Super 6.
King and Currie formed a brilliant partnership for the U18s and having been part of the 20s squad last season, they will undoubtedly link up again and be even stronger. There is real potential here for them as a long-term partnership at Edinburgh and even Scotland with the younger Glasgow pairing of Connor De Bruyn and Michael Gray snapping at their heels.