The 71st minute of Edinburgh Rugby’s Guinness Pro14 clash with Irish side Connacht last Sunday may have passed many by, but not those with connections to Stewart’s Melville College!
When second-row Jamie Hodgson (2016 leaver) came onto the pitch in the 71st minute, this meant that three former pupils were representing Edinburgh Rugby at the same time. Full-back Jack Blain (2018 leaver) started the match and back-row Connor Boyle (2018 leaver) came on after 65 minutes for his professional debut.
Though Edinburgh lost an entertaining match 37-26, for Stewart’s Melville College Head of Rugby Stuart Edwards it was a proud moment to see the three players out on the BT Murrayfield turf at the same time: “It was brilliant to see the three guys representing Edinburgh on the same day and hopefully we will see lots more of it in the future,” Edwards said.
“As a school, we work hard with the boys when they are pupils here to give them the skillset and tools they need to progress their rugby when they leave us and move into the senior ranks. Jamie, Jack and Connor are all great examples of people with lots of talent, but also of people who work hard and always put in the hard yards to get to where they want to be.
“Everyone at the school who played a part in their development are now proud to see where they are and they are top role models for the current school rugby players.
“The pupils look up to these boys and we hope it will inspire them to go on and achieve their goals in the sport too. It shows them that it is possible to make it to one of the professional teams because these guys who were at the same school have done just that.
“Now I am looking forward to seeing how Jamie, Jack and Connor’s respective careers continue in the next couple of years.”
Jamie, 22, predominantly played second team rugby at school until he was in S5 and after leaving Stewart’s Melville College, he turned out for the Stewart’s Melville Club and then Watsonians.
The former Scotland U20 cap is a very consistent performer and was one of the standouts for Watsonians in the new FOSROC Super6 competition in 2019/20.
Jack, 20, played lots of sports growing up, including cricket and athletics, before rugby took over. In August 2018, just months after leaving school, he became the first person to play for a Scottish professional rugby side who was born this century when he represented Edinburgh in a pre-season friendly with Bath.
Growing up he was mainly a winger, but he has worked on the ability to play full-back in the last couple of years with Heriot’s, Scotland U20 and Edinburgh and he looked very sharp in attack versus Connacht.
Connor, 20, was in the same school year as Jack and while he was representing the school and Scotland U18s in 2017/18, he also gained some senior experience with the Stewart’s Melville club.
In 2018/19 he played for Watsonians and, when the Super6 came in last year, he continued to play for the Myreside club and, at one point, won two Player of the Match awards in a row.
ESMS is incredibly proud to watch three of our former pupils representing Edinburgh Rugby together and we can’t wait to see where the rest of their rugby careers take them!
Article by Gary Heatly