Stafford and Alex in top flight ac­tion

The Galloway News - - SPORT -

Two Scot­tish age group in­ter­na­tion­als who cut their rugby teeth with Ste­wartry were in the spot­light at the week­end.

For­mer Scot­land un­der 21 cap­tain Stafford McDowall was in Glas­gow War­riors’ back di­vi­sion in the Pro 14 clash with Mun­ster in the heat of Thomond Park.

And his na­tional team­mate, lock Alex Craig, made an im­pres­sive de­but for Glouces­ter as they hum­bled Wasps in the English Premier­ship Rugby Cup.

McDowall, who has been scor­ing tries on loan to Ayr, was drafted into Satur­day’s War­riors squad on the bench when wing D T H van der Merwe was in­jured. But he found him­self thrust into the fray early on when Sam John­ston went off in­jured.

The 21-year-old had an im­pres­sive out­ing as he eas­ily slot­ted into the Glas­gow line up with a su­perb workrate in de­fence and a cou­ple of eye catch­ing line breaks.

Un­for­tu­nately, War­riors saw their early bonus point try lead cut away and were pipped at the post by an 80th minute penalty landed from just in­side their half to make the score 25-24.

Craig had a hap­pier out­come as he put in an im­mense per­for­mance in Glouces­ter’s 31-7 de­mo­li­tion of Wasps.

The match, against a back­ground ab­sence of reg­u­lar play­ers off on in­ter­na­tional duty, was a chance to young­sters, mainly from feeder club Hart­pury Col­lege where Craig is hav­ing a great sea­son, to step up to the mark.

And by all ac­counts that is what the for­mer Blacks ju­nior did, only beaten by reg­u­lar Ben Vel­la­cott in a post match per­for­mance poll amongst fans.

Glouces­ter­shire Live sang his praises: “A might­ily im­pres­sive de­but from the young Scot­tish lock.Craig was a colos­sus at times, stand­ing out with his strong car­ries and high work-rate. The 21-year-old was also out­stand­ing in the li­ne­out, steal­ing Wasps ball when­ever he had a sniff.

“Craig has im­pressed for Hart­pury in the Cham­pi­onship and showed that he is on course for a bright fu­ture with Glouces­ter.”

Alex Craig

Stafford McDowall

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