Three Strathallan alumni make Scotland’s U20 Six Nations side
February 1 2019
Scotland under-20s begin their age-grade rugby Six Nations campaign this Friday evening and three former Strathallan pupils are in the squad that will take part in the showpiece event.
Prop Murphy Walker, second-row Cameron Henderson and centre/winger/full-back Ollie Smith have all been selected by head coach Carl Hogg having impressed in their first seasons out of school with Stirling County (Walker and Henderson) and Ayr (Smith) respectively and in training with the Fosroc Scottish Rugby Academy.
Strathallan’s director of rugby Andrew Henderson world closely with the trio during their time at the school, is proud of their selection for this event and believes they have a bright future in the sport.
“They are all great kids who have worked very hard to get where they are today and that is a good example to current pupils who look up to them and want to be like them,” Henderson said.
“Murphy was selected for the under-20s last year when he was still at school and he was mature enough to take that on.
“His work ethic, his approach and his persona are top class. As a result, I wasn’t surprised that he was not too fazed by making the step up to that level in both the Six Nations and the Junior World Championship.
“He grew so quickly last year just in terms of his role of being our school rugby captain and he applied himself wholeheartedly to everything. He was always in the gym doing his extras and communicates well, so I always felt he could do well.
“He seems to have adapted to life quickly in the Premiership and with the Academy and I think he will continue to get better and better.
“Cammy was a big tall guy from the early stages of joining us and he was always really driven and knew what he wanted.
“He went through a period of just growing and growing, every time I saw him he seemed to be getting taller!
“Then came a few injury problems, but he is a pretty level headed guy who just gets on with things.
“I remember him playing for Scotland under-18s a couple of years ago in Wales and, although it was tough, he rose to the challenges in that event and I am sure he will do in this Six Nations. He learns quickly and is great in the lineout.
“Ollie came here to finish his schooling and at first he was very shy, but once he was part of the team he blossomed as a guy and as a player and became an important part of that group.
“He is still a quiet guy, but there are some bits of his game that I just really like and from what I hear he has stepped up well to senior rugby with Ayr.
“With his ability to play a number of positions he could be key for the under-20s in the next couple of months and I wish all three of the guys from Strathallan – and indeed the whole squad – all the best in the tournament which will be entertaining.”
The under-20s Six Nations runs from February 1 to March 15 and Scotland open against Italy at Netherdale in Gala on Friday evening.
By Gary Heatly