Making the grade

A PAIR of GHA's up-and-comers has been named in the Scotland under-18 squad.

Rory Hughes and Adam Barnett could be playing international rugby on their home ground as two of the international matches will be at Braidholm.

Scotland's under-18 international programme starts with a game against Japan at Braidholm on March 20.

Following a fixture against England in Leeds, the youngsters will return to Braidholm on April 3 for match against Ireland.

Winger Rory Hughes — a MET colleges student — and second row Adam Barnett — a Mearns Castle pupil — previously wore the national team jersey when they represented the under-17s in the Wellington College international festival last year.

It is a bit of good news during a season that has stalled following prolonged inclimate weather.

GHA were scheduled to face Scottish champions Ayr on Saturday in cup action, but more snow meant another week in the gym for the Braidholm club.

Captain Niall Cassie was disappointed to miss the chance to test himself against Scotland's best.

He told ExtraSport: "Our main focus is on the league but it would have been a good test to play against a team of Ayr's pedigree.

"There are a lot of younger boys in the team who will have never experienced that before".

The squad have been training hard at Hutchesons' grammar school and using the facilities at a city-centre gym to try and stay on top of their fitness prior to continuing their fight to keep their premier two status.

Coach Paul Tyler added: "The break came at a good time for us and has allowed players to recharge and recover from various niggling injuries".

He added: "I hope we'll be back at full strength when the league season gets underway again".

GHA, who have not played since November 21 — a fate also experienced by the other southside rugby clubs — are scheduled to face Jed-Forrest this weekend.

Whitecraigs have managed to learn from the best during the winter break, training with associate club Ayr at Millbrae, as well as having fitness sessions at St Ninian's High school.

The West lodge side are scheduled to host Perthshire on Saturday while, weather permitting, Cartha Queen's Park face a visit to Musselburgh.

Cartha coach Eugene Murnane said:"The stop-start nature of the season has been difficult and this may be a time now for the rugby world to look at the possibility of switching the season to summer.

"But, every team is in the same boat and we have everybody back training, raring to go. We need a result on Saturday to kickstart our promotion bid".