SCOTLAND UNDER-20 head coach Peter Wright and Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC manager Terry Butcher have joined forces to encourage supporters in the Highlands to sample 6 Nations action close to home when the young Scots play Ireland at Tulloch Caledonian Stadium on Friday 25 February (kick-off 7.30pm, admission FREE).
The match will be the second Scotland under-20 fixture to be hosted by the SPL club in as many seasons, with last year’s dramatic draw with France attracting several thousand fans. Butcher today threw his weight behind the game, urging the local rugby public and Inverness CT supporters alike to make it another night to remember.
In an exclusive interview with www.scotlandrugbyteam.org, the former England and Rangers captain said: “It’s a real occasion to have rugby in the Highlands, and given the crowd and the warmth you received the last time, it’s great to have you back. I’m planning to come down and enjoy the game myself before we travel to play Hibs in Edinburgh the following day, and I’d say to people in the surrounding area that it’s something really different to come along and watch rugby here at the stadium.”
“It’s a great venue for any sport, be it football or rugby; the pitch is in good condition, and with the way Scotland under-20 play the game and how you look after the pitch afterwards, we’re thrilled to have you back.”
Butcher has strong personal rugby ties, having once been a budding stand-off with Lowestoft Grammar School, his Suffolk alma mater. His sons, Ed and Christopher, both reached the under-18 Scottish Schools Cup final with Dollar Academy, Ed being a contemporary of current Scotland and Glasgow Warriors back-row forward John Barclay and representing Caledonia at under-18 level.
Butcher confirmed: “Both my boys loved the game, and I really enjoyed the camaraderie and spirit that came along with it. I played fly-half at school, probably because I was the only one who could kick a ball. I’m left-footed, so I would come inside and kick it long, and I also took all the penalties. I enjoyed the rucks, even if as a stand-off you probably shouldn’t get involved in them too much.”
Wright, the former British and Irish Lions and Scotland prop, declared himself “absolutely delighted” to be taking his team to Inverness once more. He said: “The facilities on offer at the stadium are first-class, the pitch is excellently maintained and if the support we got last year is anything to go by, there is a massive amount of passion for the sport in the Highlands and it’s great to be able to feed that. The Ireland game is huge for us in terms of injecting some momentum into our 6 Nations campaign, and from that point of view, the bigger the crowd the better.”
“It’s great to see from Terry the enthusiasm that Inverness Caley Thistle have for hosting us here, and given that they are away to Hibs that weekend, it’s hopefully a good chance for some of their supporters to come out and see something a bit different right on their own doorstep.”
As with all home Scotland A, Scotland under-20, Club International, under-18, under-17 and Scotland Women games this season, admission to next Friday’s game at Tulloch Caledonian Stadium is FREE.
SCOTLAND UNDER-20 FIXTURES SEASON 2010/11
6 Nations Championship
Friday 4 February, Stade Velodrome de Venoix, Caen, kick-off 7pm (local time): France under-20 v Scotland under-20
Friday 11 February, Bridgehaugh, kick-off 7.30pm: Scotland under-20 v Wales under-20
Friday 25 February, Tulloch Caledonian Stadium, Inverness, kick-off 7.30pm: Scotland under-20 v Ireland under-20
Friday 11 March, Newbury RFC, kick-off 7.45pm: England under-20 v Scotland under-20
Friday 18 March, Bridgehaugh, kick-off 7.30pm: Scotland under-20 v Italy under-20
3-27 June, Italy, IRB Junior World Championship