Scotland U20 coach Peter Wright believes 18-year-old Mark Bennett is one of the most exciting young talents he’s seen in years. The centre has recently returned from a short spell with French Top 14 champions Clermont Auvergne and the sojourn clearly worked wonders because a couple of days after his return, Bennett scored one of Ayr’s tries in their semi-final defeat of Boroughmuir in the Scottish Cup.
Having already made his mark for Scotland in the U20 Six Nations – including scoring a try against France – Bennett is having a dream season and Wright reckons his potential is enormous.
“If Mark continues to develop at his current rate I expect to see him play for Glasgow next season and then Scotland. He’s as good a centre as we’ve had for years,” says Wright.
Bennett came through the Scotland age-group ranks before moving from Cumnock to Ayr, and although he remains an essential member of the Ayr side, he trains full-time with Glasgow as part of their Elite Development scheme.
Wright adds: “His ball-carrying is one of his strengths. But he’s got great feet, so he makes a lot of line breaks. He’s strong up top but with a low centre of gravity, so he’s difficult to put down.”
As well as having a solid defence and a powerful hand-off, Bennett’s best attribute is his attitude. “He’s a pleasure to work with,” says Wright. “He’s one of the easiest guys I’ve coached. He’s eager to learn, asks intelligent questions, and is mature.”
Rugby World Verdict
Bennett’s quick feet and sharp brain should take him to the top.
This article appeared in the June 2011 issue of Rugby World Magazine.
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