Several SMC FPs have had recent success on the rugby pitch for different teams.
January saw 2017 leaver and former Head Boy Ross Thompson debut for Glasgow Warriors. Not only did Thompson start the match at stand-off, score 13 points and guide the Warriors to a 23-22 victory over their rivals Edinburgh Rugby, he was also named Player of the Match after the PRO14 clash.
The 21-year-old had shown in a previous game when he came off the bench for his professional debut against the same opponents at BT Murrayfield that he was ready for his chance at the top level but what has been impressive about his play is his calmness under pressure. Head of Rugby at Stewart’s Melville College, Stuart Edwards, expressed the pride felt across ESMS when Ross made his first professional start for Glasgow Warriors. “I was very proud to watch the match on television and see the way that Ross played. I know lots of other people connected with the school were too”.
“From a young age he has been a driven, hard-working guy when it comes to his rugby and he has always wanted to learn and get better. When I came to teach at the school he was the stand-off in the first team that I coached and being a stand-off myself I thought he had some talent, but everything that has happened to him since then has been up to his determination. He was Captain when they won the Scottish Schools’ Cup (in 2016/17). He has worked his way through the Scotland age-grade squads and while with Glasgow Hawks and then the Ayrshire Bulls in the FOSROC Super6 since school he has been knocking on the door with Glasgow. It has taken him maybe longer than he would have liked, but you have to bide your time in elite sport and then grab the chance when it comes.”
After the recent match with Edinburgh, Thompson admits he was a bit nervous before kick-off, but he soon settled into his rhythm. “I was pretty nervous to begin with but everyone inside and outside me on the pitch definitely helped,” he explained.
In February, 2018 leaver Jack Blain signed with Edinburgh Rugby. “It was an amazing few days,” the wing/full-back said. In terms of the contract, it is just nice to know that my immediate future is taken care of and I can really get my head down and try and build on the progress I have made this season at Edinburgh to date. When I was younger and coming through at Stewart’s Melville College, I would head down on Friday nights to watch the Edinburgh home games with my mates, so I’m really proud to be able to continue playing for the club I’ve supported since I was young. My aim is to just keep enjoying my rugby, play as many games for Edinburgh as I can and try to improve and learn as much as possible with every opportunity that I get to pull on the jersey.”
Despite all of his rugby commitments, Jack still has time to study part-time on an Economics and Business course at Heriot-Watt University and all at ESMS are very proud of what he is doing on and off the pitch!
And finally, 2010 leaver and Glasgow Warriors hooker George Turner put in an amazing performance on his 13th Scotland rugby appearance to help the team defeat England at Twickenham for the first time in 38 years! The 28-year-old hit all of his lineouts and was very effective in the scrum and the loose before a calf problem saw him replaced by debutant Dave Cherry with little more than 10 minutes remaining.
Speaking directly after the big match, George said: “It hasn’t quite sunk in that we have won, but for us to triumph at Twickenham, it is such a good feeling. We felt really confident going into the game, but I was nervous, more nervous than I have ever been. It was the biggest game of my career, England away at Twickenham in the Six Nations and it was huge, but during the anthems and after kick-off I just tried to see it as another game of rugby. …I couldn’t watch the last 10 or so minutes after I had to come off, it was really tough.
Congratulations from all at ESMS!