Merchiston Castle has always had a strong rugby tradition, and during February and March, five former pupils have been playing for Scotland in the men’s and men’s under-20 Six Nations.
Fraser Brown and Magus Bradbury have been key parts of the Scotland pack that, ahead of the final game against Wales, had won two from four in the championship while Matthew Currie, Kieran Watt and Rufus McLean have been starring for the age-grade side.
Dan Gamble and Jamie Dobie, who were in Matthew’s year at school, would also have been involved with the under-20s had they not been injured and required by Glasgow Warriors respectively.
Hooker Brown reached the very impressive milestone of 50 full caps for his country against France in a 28-17 win at BT Murrayfield on March 8.
Given the injuries and other things the Glasgow Warriors man has had in recent times to get to such a number of appearances for Scotland is testament to his desire and work ethic.
“Eight or nine years ago I didn’t think I was going to get one cap, so the fact that I have 50 is a big deal for my family and me,” he said.
“It probably took me 20 caps to learn, it’s a bit corny, but every cap is a gift. So, every time you get in this environment, it’s just an extreme privilege to be here. It doesn’t matter if someone’s on five or 105, the fact you get to play is just a massive honour for yourself."
“I had a lot of injuries when I was younger - if you’re going through that and you still think you’re going to go on and play for Scotland then you’re probably a bit delusional. Even as recently as last summer, I thought I might not be getting another game of professional rugby with my foot injury, so to come back from that and be fit and playing reasonably well and in contention, it’s a decent achievement.”
Before the Wales game, back-row Magnus had made it to 14 full Scotland caps while, during the Six Nations period, he also signed a contract extension with Edinburgh Rugby.
“I’m very much enjoying my rugby with Scotland and at Edinburgh,” he stated.
“And I am really happy to have been given the opportunity to re-sign with the club that I’ve spent my whole career with. It’s brilliant to be part of a team that is so driven to succeed and compete at the highest level.
“Edinburgh is an exciting place to be at the moment, and I’m looking forward to seeing the results that this team can produce moving forward.”
Before their own Wales game, Matthew and Kieran had started all four of the under-20s matches in the Six Nations at centre and second-row respectively against Ireland, England, Italy and France.
Centre partner Robbie McCallum praised the way Matthew has stepped up to this level in his first year out of school. Head coach Sean Lineen said of Kieran: “He worked so hard to get into shape over the winter and in the opener against Ireland he made 17 tackles, no misses and 18 carries - I love seeing guys working hard, coming through the club game and delivering.”
Rufus, a speedy winger, came off the bench against Ireland, before missing the England game with a concussion.
He returned to start against Italy - scoring a great try in the 30-29 win - and started and scored again against France.
Well done to all our former pupils, we are very proud of the successes you have achieved.
Thanks to David Gibson/FOTOSPORT for the main photo