ruaraidh hart -
After being named as one of two vice-captains for the opening U20 Six Nations clash with Wales, Ruaraidh Hart wants to make a big impact.

And the 19-year-old second-row, who is a member of the Glasgow Warriors academy set up, believes that the older members in this squad have to lead by example throughout the upcoming campaign.

Scotland finished fifth in the showpiece event last year with their only win coming against Wales, who finished sixth, at Scotstoun Stadium in Glasgow when the hosts battled through 18-17.

It could be a similarly tight affair at Stadiwm CSM in Colwyn Bay on Friday evening in the rematch and, to that end, the players like Hart, captain Liam McConnell, Callum Norrie, Kerr Yule, Jerry Blyth-Lafferty, Robbie Deans and the other vice-captain Geordie Gwynne will be crucial for the Scots.

They all played in the corresponding fixture 12 months ago and Hart, who started off life at the Birkmyre club in Kilmacolm and has since played for Glasgow Hawks, said:  “Last year we had a lot of boys like myself who were playing in the Premiership and then we came up against these really big dominant packs at U20 level and it was a bit of a shock to the system.

“It was all pretty new to us and we had to learn quickly, but we did that to beat Wales the guys who played last year at this level know what to expect now and it is up to us to lead from the front.

“I think we have good mix of older, more experienced players at the level and the younger ones in the squad this time around. We have a lot of boys who played a lot of minutes last year in the U20 Six Nations and through the World Trophy in Kenya.

“The newer guys have brought loads of energy, the likes of Freddy Douglas in the back-row for example has a good skillset and drives standards.

 “We have a good bunch and we have gelled together well in a really good environment. Now we are ready to really front up.”

Hart could not have had many better mentors to learn from in the last few months as a young second-row because he has been involved in a lot of training sessions with the Glasgow full squad.

That means that he has been working at close quarters with Richie Gray and Scott Cummings - the current Scotland starting second-row pairing - and has picked their brains.

“It has been great,” the former Glasgow Academy school pupil stated.

“I am a second-row who likes to really look at the lineout and how that works and there are loads of guys to watch, learn from and talk to at the club.

“I have had lots of chats with the guys like Richie, Scott and others. They are very experienced and big on the detail so that helps my understanding - it has been a big learning curve for me.”

For the U20 Six Nations opener in Wales there are nine Edinburgh Rugby players in the Scotland matchday 23, seven from Glasgow Warriors, five who play in England and two part-time professional Super Series competition players.

“From a strength and conditioning standpoint, most of the boys to have been in pro environments in recent months and playing Future XV matches in the Super Series Championship and you can certainly see the difference in terms of numbers in the gym and speeds being recorded across the squad,” Hart continued.

“Everyone has been going well in the gym and on the pitch in training and we have a lot more experience coming into this environment now.

“We have a number of players that played U20s last year, have since played Futures and been in those pro environments so we have taken a lot of learnings from that and we have managed to play quite a few minutes in the last few months.

“We have also been able to spend more time together and we have gained experience playing against big, physical teams that has prepared us well for the U20 Six Nations.”

Kick-off in the Wales-Scotland U20 Six Nations round one match is at 6:45pm on Friday and the action will be broadcast live on BBC iPlayer, the BBC Sport website and S4C.

Scotland Under-20s to face Wales: 15. Fergus Watson, 14. Kerr Johnston, 13. Geordie Gwynn, 12. Kerr Yule, 11. Amena Caqusau, 10. Isaac Coates, 9. Murdoch Lock; 1. Robbie Deans, 2. Elliot Young, 3. Ollie Blyth-Lafferty, 4. Evan McVie, 5. Ruaraidh Hart, 6. Liam McConnell (c), 7. Freddy Douglas, 8. Tom Currie

Replacements: 16. Jerry Blyth-Lafferty, 17. Alex O’Driscoll, 18. Callum Norrie, 19. Archie Clarke, 20. Monroe Job, 21. Jonny Morris, 22. Eric Davey, 23. Jack Hocking