Stafford McDowall believes his experience of playing centre this season in the BT Premiership will help him as he moves to 13 for the under-20s in their crucial match against Italy on Friday night.

The young Scots go into the 6 Nations clash at Broadwood Stadium (8.30pm) winless in this year’s event.

Italy have also lost four from four and neither will want to finish bottom.

For this one, Scotland head coach Sean Lineen has re-jigged his backline and as a result Ayr’s Stafford has moved from full-back to outside centre.

The 19-year-old said: “I have enjoyed the run outs at full-back in recent weeks and it has helped me to communicate a lot more on the pitch, but I have played quite a bit at centre too in my career.

“I think playing a number of times there for Ayr this season has helped and the experienced players at Ayr such as Grant Anderson and Ross Curle have really helped me on the pitch since I stepped up from school rugby.

“As for the under-20s, well we may not have won a game yet, but the belief in the squad is still high. We feel that we did well in spells in the loss to England last week and all the focus in recent days has been on getting a win against Italy.

“We are excited to be at home again and rather feeling pressure to get a victory we are embracing it and we have faith in each other.”

Travelling man

Stafford grew up in a farming family in Dumfries and Galloway and went to Kirkcudbright Academy in his teens before spending a couple of years at Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh.

Having played also for Stewartry as a youngster, this season he has been turning out for Ayr as mentioned and working on the farm.

“Working on the farm has been good and I have also been throwing a lot of energy into rugby with the World Championships coming up in May and there being a lot of competition for places,” he stated.

“There has also been a lot of travel involved to Ayr and to the under-20s camps in Edinburgh, but it has all been worth it.”

Thanks to Scottish Rugby/SNS for the photo of Stafford McDowall playing against Wales

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