Scotland’s A team is being re-established and will compete against England A, Canada, the US Eagles, New Zealand Maori and Ireland A in the six team Churchill Cup in North America next summer.
Funding for the revival of the Scotland A team is coming from the International Rugby Board and the IRB’s support was welcomed today by SRU Interim Director of Rugby Richie Dixon.
He said: “We’re grateful to the IRB for its assistance. We believe the A team is a vital part of our development of international rugby players.
“We will be looking at the group of players who have played under-21 international rugby without yet making the transition to the senior Scotland team. Our age-grade teams are beginning to produce players who have demonstrated that they are able to hold down a place in the pro-teams, such as Garry Law at the Border Reivers
“Our view is that we need to have a layer whereby these guys can continue to develop into international rugby players and the A team is an important vehicle in that nurturing process.”
The Churchill Cup is a three way alliance between the English RFU, Rugby Canada and USA Rugby and the aim of the competition is to develop and grow rugby across North America.
Scotland A will open the 2006 Churchill Cup by playing England A in Toronto on Saturday 3 June. Their second match will be against Canada in Ottawa on Wednesday 7 June. Depending on their results in those two games they will then face a third match against the team in the same ranking in the San Francisco- based pool – involving USA, Ireland A and New Zealand Maori – in Edmonton on Saturday 17 June.
Richie Dixon added: “We will be looking to take a party of 26-28 players and probably around six management. Our intention would be for the coaches to come from within our existing staff.
“June will therefore be a very busy month for XV-a-side international rugby as the Scotland team will be touring South Africa for a two Test series, the under-21 team will be involved in the IRB world championship in Vichy, France from 5-25 June and the A team will play in the Churchill Cup.”
The Churchill Cup started in 2003 and the 2006 event will be the first time the tournament has been played across two countries. All nine matches will be broadcast live in the UK by Sky Sports.