Alexandria’s Duncan Munn has been tagged as the perfect example of where hard work and dedication can lead, after Scotland called up the 18-year-old for the Under-20 Six Nations.
The former Loch Lomond player, who now plays for Boroughmuir Bears, was named in Kenny Murray’s 30-man squad for the tournament, which begins on Friday when Scotland host England in Edinburgh.
And yesterday (Wednesday) Duncan was named in the starting line-up for the clash, which is broadcast live on BBC iPlayer.
Duncan began his rugby career with the Loch Lomond mini teams, progressing through the age groups before being selected for the Scottish youth teams, participating in the Glasgow Warriors development team and even being rewarded for his commitment to the sport on a scholarship at the Kelvinside Academy in Glasgow.
Last September, he made his senior rugby debut for Edinburgh’s Boroughmuir Bears in the fiercely competitive Super6 series.
And Loch Lomond’s Iain Norrie revealed that Duncan never forgets his roots, with brothers Gregor and Lewis both players on Bonhill’s side, while dad, John and mum Angela are still heavily involved in running the club.
Iain told Lennox: “We are delighted and very proud of Duncan. He shows where you can get with dedication and hard work.
“He is still down and training the younger age groups quite often. A couple of weeks ago he came over to help me line up the club’s pitches for the younger age groups on his day off from the Warriors.
“Throughout the summer he was still the guy mowing the lawn. He didn’t move out of the club and forget where it all started. That says a lot.
“He is a very down to earth boy and remains an important part of Loch Lomond, which he always will be.
“We are all very proud of him, his parents, his family and everyone who has dedicated time and effort to get to that stage.
“That path is now there for players at clubs like Loch Lomond, and it clearly works.
“We are not a big name rugby team but since Duncan started his journey we now have an excellent reputation. We organize great days for the children and now we have a great reputation. But that has taken a long time to build. Duncan has been part of the team that has helped do that.
“The path has put him in front of the right people. She impressed them and then moved him to the next stage where he continues to impress.
“His attitude and dedication to his sport has allowed him to move forward.”
For Iain, Duncan’s achievements reflect the hours of hard work and dedication of Loch’s coaches over the years.
He continued: “We don’t have the best facilities or anything like that, but we have an outstanding group of coaches who have invested in the players.
“People have given their time and skills to help develop young players like Duncan.
“He’s moved on after that himself, but he’s been excellent. He shows where hard work can take you, especially in an area that is not well known in the whole of Scotland for its rugby. It is quite an achievement.
“I have seen comments on social media from some of their first coaches. It’s just a good feeling for everyone involved.
“You can put a lot into training kids and it’s nice when you see something as special as that.”
And he has no doubt that the Vale of Leven Academy alumnus would take it easy to run against England if selected.
He added, “I think he would handle the pressure and the environment well.
“I went to the second game he played at Boroughmuir Bears, when he was 18 he was playing against seasoned pros and he took it in stride.
“He was one of the standout players in the Super6 this year, and that’s the path to professional rugby with the Glasgow Warriors, Edinburgh or whatever.
“He has taken advantage of every opportunity he has been given. I have absolutely no doubt that if he gets to the team in one matchday, then he will take advantage of that opportunity.
“He is so focused when he is on the field. He has worked very hard to get there. I have no doubt that he will excel if given the chance to start.”
Iain now hopes that others will be inspired by the success of Duncan and the upcoming Six Nations to get involved with rugby.
“It’s a great time for young players to get involved with rugby,” he continued.
“Covid has had a massive impact on all sports clubs. We are very much looking forward to increasing our numbers across all age groups from P1 to senior rugby.
“We are very interested in that. We’ll be telling Duncan’s story on social media to help get people involved.
“You can see that, starting in a small club, you can progress. Duncan is now on the verge of achieving something that no one involved in the club has achieved in representing Scotland.
“He’s a boy who was at Vale of Leven Academy until a few years ago, his brothers still are.
“They are a well known local family and their success is a good story for the whole area.
“He is now joining a very select group of people in this country. He gives you a bit of pride and a sense of accomplishment that we’ve been involved in that.”
All Scotland Under-20 Six Nations matches will be broadcast on BBC iPlayer.
Scotland will play their second match of the Championship against Wales on Friday 11 February at Colwyn Bay (8pm kick-off), followed by a return to Edinburgh’s DAM Health Stadium when they host France on Friday 25 February (8pm kick-off). ).
Their tournament will conclude with away games against Italy on Friday 11 March in Treviso (kick-off 7pm GMT) and Ireland on Sunday 20 March at Musgrave Park, Cork (kick-off 5pm).
Head Coach Kenny Murray said: “Having taken on this role, I have been impressed by the commitment, intensity and skill set of the players during our camp this week.
“I saw a lot of Super6 last year and I’ve already had the opportunity to work with some of these players in the Glasgow Warriors environment, so I know what they are capable of.”
For more information on Loch Lomond, visit the club’s Facebook page Facebook.com/LochLomondRugbyClub/.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.