World Rugby U20 Championships: Squad statistics (updated to 2018)

Analysis of the Scotland squads who have competed in the World Rugby u20 Championship (previously known as the IRB Junior World Championship). The squads have been broken down by players whose highest level reached was one of the European second tier leagues (Championship, Pro D2); those who have played in a top tier league (PRO12/14, Premiership, Top 14); and a further breakdown of those who have gone on to earn full Scotland honours:


The squads include some players who featured in more than one tournament. To get an idea of how frequently individuals have moved into the top tier or been capped here are the total numbers for 2008-2017 (excluding the current squad as many are still to make their mark on the pro game):

Backs – 99

  • Played top tier European league – 42 (42%)
  • Played 2nd tier European league – 14
  • Capped international – 20 (20%)

Forwards – 118

  • Played top tier European league – 51 (43%)
  • Played 2nd tier European league – 23
  • Capped international – 23 (20%)

Total – 217

  • Played top tier European league – 93 (43%)
  • Played 2nd tier European league – 37
  • Capped international – 43 (20%)

The most successful period so far has covered the 2009 + 2010 campaigns. The former had the forwards (11 of 14 have played in the PRO12/14) and the latter had the backs (9 of 12 have played in a top league – with the other 3 all featuring in the Championship). The total stats are:

  • Squad members – 49
  • Played top tier European league – 27 (55%)
  • Played 2nd tier European league – 8
  • Capped by Scotland – 15 (31%)

Full international caps in each squad

Backs – Peter Horne, Ruaridh Jackson, Lee Jones
Forwards – Angus Dixon (capped by Hong Kong), Richie Gray, Andrew Rose (capped by Zimbabwe)

Backs – Tom Brown, Alex Dunbar, Peter Horne, Henry Pyrgos
Forwards – Fraser Brown, Chris Fusaro, Grant Gilchrist, Richie Gray, Robert Harley,  Stuart McInally, Ryan Wilson

Backs – Tom Brown, Alex Dunbar, Dougie Fife, Matt Scott, Duncan Weir
Forwards – David Denton, Grant Gilchrist, Robert Harley, George Hunter (capped by Bahamas), Stuart McInally

Backs – Mark Bennett, Stuart Hogg, Duncan Weir
Forwards – Alex Allan, George Hunter (capped by Bahamas), Hamish Watson

Backs – Tommaso Allan (capped by Italy), Mark Bennett, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Finn Russell
Forwards – Alex Allan, Jamie Bhatti, George Turner

Backs – Tommaso Allan (capped by Italy), Mark Bennett, Damien Hoyland, Rory Hughes, Ali Price
Forwards – Adam Ashe, Jamie Bhatti, Jonny Gray

Backs – Damien Hoyland
Forwards – Magnus Bradbury, Lewis Carmichael, Zander Fagerson, Jamie Ritchie

Backs – George Horne, Blair Kinghorn
Forwards – Magnus Bradbury, Lewis Carmichael, Zander Fagerson, Murray McCallum, Jamie Ritchie

Backs – Adam Hastings, Blair Kinghorn
Forwards – Zander Fagerson, Murray McCallum, Jamie Ritchie

Backs – Blair Kinghorn
Forwards – Matt Fagerson


  1. Fantastic analysis. Is Scottish rugby doing enough to help and promote the talent of the future? The statistics speak for themselves…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Prediction is a fools game, but nonetheless I have had a bash at predicting who might make the breakthrough to international or top-pro level from the previous three squads, assuming that any player from 2013 or before is likely to have already made it if he was going to. My picks are largely based on performances at ‘pro’ level, be that Pro12 or for some, the Sevens circuit.

    2014 Squad
    Magnus Bradbury
    Lewis Carmichael
    Chris Dean
    Zander Fagerson
    Jamie Farndale
    Damien Hoyland
    Rory Hutchison
    D’arcy Rae
    Jamie Ritchie
    Ben Vellacott

    2015 Squad
    Magnus Bradbury
    Lewis Carmichael
    Scott Cummings
    Zander Fagerson
    Murray McCallum
    Jamie Ritchie
    Lewis Wynne
    George Horne
    Rory Hutchinson
    Blair Kinghorn
    Robbie Nairn
    Ben Vellacott

    2016 Squad
    Zander Fagerson
    Murray McCallum
    George Thornton
    Scott Cummings
    Callum Hunter-Hill
    Jamie Ritchie
    Lewis Wynne
    Hugh Fraser
    Adam Hastings
    Rory Hutchinson
    Darcy Graham
    Blair Kinghorn
    Robbie Nairn

    This would make the 2015 and 2016 squads the most successful to date, with 12 progressing from both those years. Of course, with the potential for a log jam always present with only two Pro sides, its also worth looking at the positions of those players. Form 2015 and 2016 there are the following number in each position type:
    4 Props
    0 Hookers
    3 Second Rows
    5 Back Rows
    1 Fly Half
    3 Scrum Halfs
    3 Centres
    5 Back Three

    This suggests to me that we have a real need for an outstanding hooker to break through, which is particularly concerning given it is not a position of strength for us now. It also seems likely that at least one, if not more, of our scrum halfs will fail to make it at international level due to the seemingly large number breaking through on top of more than a few already playing at a decent level.

    I have, I should note, also missed some excellent youth players from my above lists. The likes of the following may yet make it at pro level also, with Miller and Smith particularly impressive when I have seen them:
    Cammy Fenton
    Ally Miller
    Matt Smith
    Ben Robbins
    Tom Galbraith

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cheers for that. Hooker is an odd one. Possibly back row (or even centre) is maybe seen as a more attractive option for young players who might have the physique and skill set to play hooker.

      There’s a big opportunity there for someone to come along and set the standard. The risk being of course, as you mention, only having 2 pro teams makes it harder to break through quickly in such a specialist position.


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