For the members of this year’s Scotland under-20 squad their participation in the age-grade Six Nations is the next step along the road to what they hope will be successful pro and international careers.
The young guns take on Ireland on Friday night at Gala’s Netherdale ground (7.30pm) looking to bounce back from an opening defeat to Italy at the same venue.
And Connor Boyle and his charges do not have to look far for inspiration with 14 of the 23 man Scotland full squad having been named for Saturday’s meeting with the Irish at BT Murrayfield having come through the same route as them.
The Scotland men who shone with the under-20s
Now Scotland’s starting hooker and in the form of his life, he earned 20 caps for the age-grade side in 2009 and 2010, mainly as a back-row.
He was in the same under-20s squad as McInally and helped himself to eight caps for the young side in 2009 and 2010.
Restored this weekend to the Scotland starting XV after injury, he was one of the star under-20s men in 2012 and 2013 earning 14 caps.
An Exiles player growing up down south, the back-row came into the under-20s mix for the 2009 World Championship and earned four caps.
One of the great under-20s success stories of recent years, he played for them while still at school and, in all, played 18 times between 2014 and 2016.
He always had talent, but it was with the under-20 side that he grew in confidence, picking up 10 caps all in 2012 on his way to the big time.
We all remember this punchy teenager rolling onto the Borders sevens circuit aged 16, but five under-20 caps in 2011 helped his development no end.
In the same under-20s team as McInally and, like him, was a mainstay at that level. Earned eight caps in 2008 and 2009.
His rise from the club game to the international arena has been swift, but his 17 caps for the under-20s in 2012 and 2013 were when he learned a lot.
The tighthead finally gets his chance with Scotland this weekend and back in 2013 and 2014 he impressed in 18 outings with the age-grade side.
Glasgow’s ‘Mr Consistency’ is back in the reckoning with the national team and he was a polished performer for the under-20s with 15 caps in 2009 and 2010.
The buzz bomb scrum-half grew up down south, but really came onto the Scottish rugby radar with 10 caps for the under-20s out of Bedford in 2013.
After making the move from Bell Baxter HS/Howe of Fife to West, Horne picked up 15 under-20 caps in 2008 and 2009.
The hat-trick hero from last week and ready to make an impact off the bench this, he made 15 appearances at age-grade level between 2015 and 2017.
Greig Laidlaw also previously played for Scotland under-21s
15 Rufus McLean (Watsonians)
14 Rory McMichael (Heriot’s)
13 Cameron Anderson (Wasps)
12 Robbie McCallum (Complutense Cisneros)
11 Jack Blain (Heriot’s)
10 Ross Thompson (Glasgow Hawks, V-C)
9 Roan Frostwick (Currie Chieftains)
1 Sam Grahamslaw (Leicester Tigers)
2 Ewan Ashman (Sale Sharks)
3 Murphy Walker (Stirling County)
4 Cameron Henderson (Stirling County)
5 Ewan Johnson (Racing 92)
6 Charlie Jupp (Heriot’s)
7 Connor Boyle (Watsonians, C)
8 Kwagga Van Niekirk (Lions)
16 Angus Fraser (Glasgow Hawks)
17 Andrew Nimmo (Glasgow Hawks)
18 Euan McLaren (Ayr)
19 Ross Bundy (Stirling County)
20 Jack Mann (Edinburgh Accies)
21 Kyle McGhie (Musselburgh)
22 Nathan Chamberlain (Bristol Bears)
23 Matt Davidson (London Scottish)
Thanks to David Gibson/FOTOSPORT for the main photo
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