U20: “Everybody at the club is very proud of Duncan”

By Gary Heatly

When Duncan Munn runs out at the Twickenham Stoop on Friday evening to co-captain Scotland for the first time in the under-20 Six Nations he’ll be a long way from home.

Not just in terms of the 439 miles in distance terms between Balloch and the Harlequins’ stadium, but also in terms of the difference between his family farm in Balloch and the leafy outskirts of London.

However, Duncan, now 19, is a player who has excelled so far with every challenge that has been put in front of him in his fledgling career.

And the Glasgow Warriors’ Academy centre can make a name for himself in front of a wider audience than ever before during this showpiece tournament.

Whatever happens in the next few weeks, most importantly he wants to inspire the kids currently in the Loch Lomond Rugby Club junior section – and those thinking of joining – because that is where it all began for him.

“I’m from Balloch, I live there on a farm with my family. Loch Lomond was the club I started at, my Dad was a coach there, so I went down from P1 age and was there all the way to under-16s, I just loved it,” he explained.

“Rugby is not huge in Balloch and the surrounding areas, but we are trying to grow things at Loch Lomond. Not many people from the club have gone onto represent their country, so hopefully my selection as co-captain here shows the younger ones a path and shows them that wherever you are from, if you get the head down and work hard, then you can do well.

“Loch Lomond is my hometown club, it is where most of my friends and family are involved, so it’s good getting back down there when I can and I owe the people there a lot as they’ve helped me get to this point.”

Since he played for Loch Lomond, Duncan played for Kelvinside Academy and West of Scotland while he finished his schooling.

He had a short spell at Cartha Queens Park to start off his senior rugby journey and has starred for Boroughmuir Bears in the part-time professional Super6 ranks since.

He also played for the national under-20s in 2022 and this week Scotland head coach Kenny Murray said he had “really good leadership qualities” and his co-captain Liam McConnell said he is “calm, knows his game and is knowledgeable”.

Duncan has learnt a lot training with the full Glasgow squad in recent months and he said of that experience:  “This season the senior Academy boys at Glasgow have been in a lot with the pros and that has been really helpful picking up tips from them.

“Especially in my position its helpful as there are top quality guys like Sione [Tuipolotu], Huw Jones, Stafford [McDowall] and Sam Johnson. They are quality players and you just spend as much time with them as you can, learning things and they are always good to talk to. They are always easy to talk to, so I’d say that’s helped me a lot.”

“Duncan always enjoyed playing for the club with his friends and that is what rugby is all about”

 Current Loch Lomond club president Iain Norrie said:  “Everybody at the club is very proud of Duncan.

“I think I was down at the club when his Mum brought him down for his first ever training session in the Minis.

“At that time there were around seven kids there and, from that, the junior section just blossomed up until pre-pandemic times when there were nearly 100 youngsters involved here.

“Duncan always enjoyed playing for the club with his friends and that is what rugby is all about.

“And even since he has moved on in his career he is always back at the club helping out when he can or presenting medals to the juniors because his whole family are involved here.

“That is what the club really prides itself on, our community spirit. We don’t play in the top leagues or always win trophies, but everyone on and off the pitch here helps each other out and great friendships have come as a result of that.

“We want as many people who live locally to be involved in the game and our senior men’s team has linked up with Helensburgh to play as Lomond & Helensburgh [in Tennent’s West Region League Division Three] so that fixtures can be fulfilled.

“On Friday night I am sure as many club members as possible will be turning on their TVs to watch Duncan playing for Scotland under-20 and we can’t wait for the upcoming home games at Scotstoun, too.”

Inspired by Duncan’s story and want to get involved in rugby at Loch Lomond Rugby Club? to find out more visit pitchero.com/clubs/lochlomond, it really is a game – and a club – for all males and females…

The Scotland under-20s match on Friday evening is live on BBC iPlayer at 7pm, find out more about the age-grade Six Nations here

Thanks to Loch Lomond RFC for the photos