BACK-ROW Ben Muncaster has described it as “an absolute honour” to captain his country after leading Scotland in the under-20s Six Nations.

The teenager was one of three East Lothian men – alongside Cameron Scott and Scott King – in Sean Lineen’s Scotland side which went down to England on Friday afternoon.

Despite the defeat, Muncaster was thrilled to be involved.

He said: “It was an absolute honour to captain Scotland.

“When Sean told me, I was pretty emotional. It was obviously a bit bittersweet because that was a winnable match.

“It would have been really good to have the win and Alex Samuel has been a good captain.

“It was a great experience and I have been learning quite a lot.”

England had led at the break and kept hold of their advantage despite going down to 14-men when Lucas Brooke was sent off.

An Ollie Leatherbarrow try, converted by Scott, helped reduce the deficit but England ran out 31-12 winners.

Scotland face Italy this afternoon (Thursday) at Cardiff Arms Park as they go in search of their first victory in the revamped 2021 tournament.

In the first round of fixtures, Lineen’s men lost to Ireland but they will be hopeful of picking up the win against their next opponents having won 30-29 in Reggio Emilia in February last year.

Speaking less than an hour after the full-time whistle, Muncaster, of North Berwick, said: “You can never underestimate Italy.

“They have got so much passion and they play the way they want to play and are a very, very good side.

“I think they played France before the Six Nations and they came back to within a point.”

Muncaster returned north of the Border in May last year when he signed for Edinburgh Rugby.

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Previously, the former Loretto pupil was part of the Leicester Tigers academy but returned home and made his senior debut against Zebre in the Pro14 Rainbow Cup.

Nineteen-year-old Muncaster will also be hoping to follow in the footsteps of fellow East Lothian age group caps Rory Darge and Callum Hunter-Hill.

The duo were named in the senior squad to face England over the weekend but the contest was called off due to a Covid-19 outbreak in the Scotland squad.

Muncaster said: “Rory has had a good season, especially going over to Glasgow. He has become a really good player and it does inspire you.

“We come from a very small, very humble town and he has been doing really well.”