Scotland Under-20 captain Scott Cummings believes squad unity as well as Pro12 and Aviva Premiership Rugby experience will stand his side in good stead for the World Rugby Under-20 Championship.
Cummings has made an impressive impact for Glasgow Warriors in the Pro12 this season, starting the season opener and going on to make nine appearances, and is joined in John Dalziel’s squad by Warriors teammate and full Scotland international Zander Fagerson.
The Championship kicks off in Manchester on June 7, with Cummings’ men tackling their Australian counterparts at the AJ Bell Stadium on opening night, and captains and coaches from all 12 teams met up in Manchester’s Town Hall for the official launch.
Australia Under-20 were buoyed by a first-ever win over New Zealand – a 25-24 victory in their recent Oceania Championship two-Test series – and Cummings knows his men will be up against it, but backs their experience to shine through.
“It gives players the opportunity to show the talent they have, it gives players the opportunity to play as a team, represent their country, and play the best rugby they possibly can,” the 19-year-old lock said.
“We need to put in a good performance against the Aussies. They have just had two very good performances against New Zealand, that’s all we’re focused on just now.
“We’ve got a lot of people already that have played in the Pro12 and have played in the Aviva Premiership as well, we’ve got a lot of players with a lot of experience.”
Cummings was integral to the Scottish side who claimed an important scalp of their own during the Under-20 Six Nations, defeating their English counterparts for the first time at Under-20 level.
Scotland boast the likes of Bath Rugby’s Adam Hastings and Rory Hutchinson, as well as Robbie Nairn of Harlequins within their ranks, but Scotland’s captain knows the Auld Enemy will also be full of Aviva Premiership Rugby talent for the tournament.
He said: “It was a huge learning curve for me, I was chucked in the deep end a bit at the start, I learnt a lot from that and I think I’ve grown up a lot, and that’s helped me as a player.
“With a lot of players also having that experience in the squad, and also a large number of players who took part in last year’s tournament we know what to expect.
“They have some good players come back from the Aviva Premiership, and also it’s a home tournament for them, so we know they’re going to be a very tough opposition to beat, we’ll have to be at our very, very best to beat them.”
The tournament hopes to launch the future stars of rugby onto further success, with over 370 Under-20 graduates including Richie and Jonny Gray for Scotland, making it onto the senior international stage.
Games will be played at the home of Sale Sharks, the AJ Bell Stadium, as well the Manchester City Academy stadium. The tournament begins on June 7, with the final on June 25, and Sky Sports broadcasting over half the matches live.
With Manchester’s appetite for rugby proving itself with the sell-out England against Uruguay match in last year’s Rugby World Cup, Scotland can be sure of avid support as they aim to become just the fourth side to win the World Rugby Under-20 Championship since its inception in 2008.
See the Future Stars of Rugby at the World Rugby U20 Championship in Manchester this June. For more information, including how to buy tickets, visit http://www.englandrugby.com/u20championships/ #WorldRugbyU20s