Gregor Townsend has indicated he may take players with little or no professional experience on Scotland’s summer tour of the Americas.  

A four-week tour and games against Chile and Uruguay in particular allow the Scotland head coach to discover whether potential future stars are ready for the rigours of international rugby.  

One player who may find himself fast-tracked into the squad despite having not yet made his Edinburgh debut is flanker Freddy Douglas.  

Douglas doesn’t turn 19 until next month but was one of the standout performers for the Scotland U20 side during this year’s Six Nations despite disappointing results for Kenny Murray’s side.  

Someone who knows Douglas well is Stuart Edwards, the former Scotland age-grade and Heriot’s fly-half, who coached the young back-row tyro during his time at Stewart’s Melville College in Edinburgh.  

Edwards doesn’t feel Douglas would be over-awed by being part of the summer tour squad.  

He said: “This summer tour is an ideal opportunity to take guys like Freddy on tour 

“It has to be the right thing for him, but if that’s the way Gregor is thinking, there’s not going to be many better kids in our current under-20s set-up than Freddy.  

“He’s one of our top performers.  

“He lives and breathes rugby. He wants to be a pro rugby player and nothing else. He’s incredibly committed to it and has been from an early stage. 

“It would be pretty cool to see him go on that tour and see what he can do at the next level because he’s got all the potential in the world." 

READ MORE: Kenny Murray believes in bright Scotland U20 future

Edwards played for Scotland at age-grade level alongside another outstanding back-row, Hamish Watson, and offered a comparison between British and Irish Lions tourist Watson and 18-year-old Douglas.  

Scotland Rugby News: Hamish Watson represented the British and Irish Lions in 2021. Hamish Watson represented the British and Irish Lions in 2021. (Image: SNS)

He added: “I played Scotland under-19 and under-20 with Hamish and what he’s done in his career has been amazing. Freddy would be as good as he was at that age, if not better. 

“My biggest worry with Freddy is that he goes through the academy systems and we’ve only got two pro teams and he ends up in a bottleneck of talent." 

While Edwards, head of rugby at Stewart’s Melville College, has clearly been impressed by Douglas on the pitch, he also praised Douglas for his attitude away from the rugby field.  

He continued: “I first taught him in P7 and he was the same kid then as he is now.  

“He’s an amazing, hard-working, good kid. We never had any issues with him at school in terms of behaviour or having to ask him to work harder.  

Scotland Rugby News: Freddy Douglas in action for Stewart's Melville CollegeFreddy Douglas in action for Stewart's Melville College (Image: SNS)

"He’s a really quiet kid. I remember we played a Scottish Schools Cup final and before the game I asked him how he was feeling. He said he felt less nervous for bigger games. I can’t ever remember seeing him have a bad game. 

There is an added incentive for Scottish Rugby to cap Douglas, who was most recently involved with the Edinburgh ‘A’ team for the opening Super Series Sprint win at Southern Knights. He also qualifies to play for England and Ireland. 

But Edwards doesn’t think that should be at the forefront of Scottish Rugby’s thinking if he does tour with the senior side.  

Edwards said: “I’d hate to see him capped just to keep him. “They’ve got to see a genuine future for him.” 

Asked what it would take to catch the attention of Townsend and his coaches, Edwards said: “He’s got to keep doing what he’s doing right now.” 

If he does that, it feels like only a matter of time before Freddy Douglas is on the international stage.  

At a time when player development pathways are under more scrutiny than ever, the powers-that-be must ensure the finest talent of the current under-20 cohort puts his skills to use for Scotland moving forward.