Restoring pride in the thistle: Signs of progression from Scotland U20s only adding to positivity

Scotland U20s claimed their first win in 15 games at Scotstoun Stadium on Friday night

Duncan Munn, the former Loch Lomond prodigy, led Scotland U20’s to their first win in 15 games on Friday night. For the co-captain, this historic victory was a long time coming.

Munn’s comments come after his side slugged it out in a tight contest against Wales at Scotstoun Stadium. In a match that saw four yellow cards shown to the visitors, Scotland showed a huge amount of determination to regain the lead late in the second half.

“We’ve been building as a group, sticking to our processes, sticking to the plan and we all know each other’s roles so we’re over the moon,” said the outside centre.

Following the win, Munn took time to reflect on the hardships that had befallen the young Scots over the last 12 months.

“Not going to lie, you do read the comments on Twitter, Facebook and all that and last year it wasn’t a good place to be at times and deservedly so after some of the games,” stated Munn somewhat bluntly.

“We didn’t perform and this year we really spoke about fronting up and restoring pride in the thistle and we’ve set our goals, set out training standards, set why we’re here and set our foundations and everybody has really bought into that since we’ve been here.

“Not just the boys who were playing but the boys in the wider squad as well. We’re all pushing each other in training, all trying to get better because this group can go a long way."

One of the foundations that has become the backbone of the team is the set piece, particularly from the line-out.

In the swirling winds that Scotstoun conjured up, Scotland’s line-out functioned to a high level for the most part: “At certain points in the game, it was functioning really well. I thought those last two line-out drives in the last 10 minutes, you know we drove them from the 22 to the halfway so all credit to Ferg [Fergus Pringle, the forwards coach] and the forwards for that,” hailed the Scotland U20 head coach Kenny Murray.

“Those are the moments that will win you games I thought. If we’d lost a drive there or only made a metre, we’d have ended up having to kick so those were the big moments where we lost against England last week."

Scotland’s co-captain Liam McConnell played a vital role in their dominance up front. The flanker, who plies his trade at Boroughmuir Bears, has been described as having fire in the belly and a mind like ice.

“Liam is unbelievable," praised Munn. "The amount of work that guy gets through, you see it on his GPS- the metres he does, he’s up pushing us backs.

“I know for him as well, the emotion of playing in front of our friends and family and the great crowd we had here at Scotstoun so thanks to all of them who came along tonight.

“Liam is an absolute workhorse, he really leads by example, he drives that forward pack, he keeps us energised the whole game and he doesn’t stop, he’s relentless so credit to him. Amazing performance from him and it really helped, we all followed him."

The partnership Munn and McConnell have forged extends far beyond the white sidelines.

Munn noted: “You have to lead by example, Liam and I speak all the time, we’re really close off the pitch as are all the boys.

“I speak to him before every decision, he speaks to me and we rely on each other and have each other’s backs but the good thing about this group is that we all think the same way and we all buy into what we’re doing.”

The young pretenders now have a two-week break to refine their style of play before they face France.

The French side has been left to lick its wounds after a last-minute penalty saw Ireland sneak a win in the second round of the U20 Six Nations.