Head of Rugby at Stewart’s Melville College, Stuart Edwards, has hailed Jamie Hodgson, Ross Thompson and Jack Blain as “great role models to our current pupils” after the FPs were named in the Scotland men’s rugby squad for this summer.
The trio of uncapped players have been included in a 37-man training group which will meet up on June 15 to prepare for a match against England at ‘A’ level and then full Test Matches against Romania and Georgia.
They have joined fellow Former Pupil George Turner in the squad, who already has 17 caps to his name at hooker and had a brilliant Six Nations campaign earlier in the year.
To have four players with links to Stewart's Melville College is very exciting for the school.
Edinburgh Rugby second-row Hodgson, now 23, has had an excellent season for the pro team and has really looked at home in that environment having come through the ranks in the club game with Stewart’s Melville and Watsonians.
“Jamie is someone who works so hard, he always has done, and he deserves this opportunity,” Edwards said about the former Scotland Under-20 skipper.
“When he was at school he knuckled down with his rugby and every training session he was eager to learn from the coaches and get better. He has taken that way of working into senior rugby.
“He had to bide his time to get regular game time with Edinburgh, but since it has come in recent months he has certainly not looked out of place and he is also just a really good guy and a solid team player to have around any squad.”
Twenty-two-year-old stand-off Thompson has been a revelation for Glasgow Warriors this term, having played for Glasgow Hawks and Ayr after school.
The ex-Scotland Under-20 number 10 looks so composed on the ball and has a great rugby brain. Edwards said: “Being a stand-off myself I have always kept a close eye on Ross’ progress. I always believed he could do it at the top level if he was given that opportunity.
“Injuries to other players gave him that opportunity with Glasgow a few months ago and he really has grabbed it with both hands and taken some professional games by the scruff of the neck. His kicking game has improved too and he is a very diligent character. The great thing about him is that he never gets too carried away and is level headed.”
The youngest of the new Scotland trio, 21-year-old Edinburgh Rugby back three player Blain, has shown in his appearances for his pro club that he is an elusive and dangerous runner with the ball in hand.
“Jack is a great athlete, he always has been, and over the last couple of years he has worked hard on his game with Heriot’s and Edinburgh,” Edwards said.
“The fact that Edinburgh have used him at full-back at times as well as on the wing shows that the coaches trust him and he has a number of strong facets to his game. He seems to be the kind of guy who thrives more the tougher an environment you put him in, so it will be interesting to see how he progresses with Scotland.
“As a school we are delighted for the three boys, they are great role models to the current pupils.
“We try to help all our rugby players push on and play at the highest level that they can and we take great pride in seeing Jamie, Ross and Jack in this squad alongside George Turner.”
Go well boys, the whole of ESMS are behind you!
Article by Gary Heatly