Roddy Grant, the 21 year old Scotland 7s forward, is today named as recipient of this season's John Macphail scholarship. And the Heriot's and National Academy player hopes to follow in the footsteps of another young openside who used the scholarship opportunity as a stepping stone to the coveted Scotland jersey.Roddy Grant, the 21 year old Scotland 7s forward, is today named as recipient of this season's John Macphail scholarship.
And the Heriot's and National Academy player hopes to follow in the footsteps of another young openside who used the scholarship opportunity as a stepping stone to the coveted Scotland jersey.
The scholarship will enable Grant - who recovered from reconstructive knee surgery at the start of the season to return to the international 7s circuit - to spend his summer playing club rugby in Auckland, New Zealand.
Grant, whose grandfather and great-uncle were both international referees, and who played age-grade water-polo for South Africa, said: "This is amazing news to learn that I was lucky enough to be chosen for this scholarship. After a long hard slog and disappointments with injury to have this on the horizon now is an unbelievable feeling."
The first recipient of the scholarship was John Barclay, then a fresh-faced school-leaver from Dollar Academy in 2005. Barclay blossomed playing club rugby in Wellington, New Zealand and the experience provided the impetus for him to win a professional contract with Glasgow Warriors and, eventually, make his Scotland debut against the All Blacks in the Rugby World Cup last September.
Grant added: _x001C_It puts it into perspective when you see what John has achieved. I know this scholarship will benefit me and I'm just so enthusiastic to get out there._x001D_
John Macphail won two caps for Scotland as a hooker against England in 1949 and South Africa in 1951. In his business career he was chief executive then chairman of the Edrington Group, a private company that is owned by the Robertson Trust.
Mr Macphail died in the summer of 2004 and his family and the trustees were keen to establish a scholarship in his memory.
Duncan Munro, Director, The Robertson Scholarship Trust, said: _x001C_The Trust is delighted to provide a further opportunity for a talented, young Scottish player to experience an intensive 12 weeks of rugby in New Zealand. We congratulate Roddy on his selection as the fourth John Macphail Rugby Scholar and look forward to following his progress during the course of the summer as he trains and plays with the Auckland University Club._x001D_
The club is no stranger to Scots. It provided a welcome home away from home to Gavin Hastings when he enjoyed a summer there during his early career.
The former Scotland and British Lions captain said: _x001C_It was a wonderful experience for me to go to the Auckland University club just after the 1987 World Cup.
_x001C_To play in New Zealand gives you an insight into their culture and you quickly learn just how intense their rugby is. It was very much the right time in my career to experience that.
_x001C_John Barclay clearly learned just what is required if you want to perform well on the rugby field and I wish Roddy all the best and hope he benefits as much from the opportunity._x001D_
Stephen Gemmell, National Academy Manager, said: _x001C_We are delighted that Roddy has been chosen by our national academy and age-grade coaches as the recipient of this award. We hope he will gain as much from the experiences as the previous recipients._x001D_
Note to editors: The previous winners of the Macphail Scholarship were:
2005 - John Barclay
2006 - Graham Hogg
2007 - Kevin Bryce
RODDY GRANT (Heriot's)
Open-side flanker. Born: 31.1.87 in Jwaneng, Botswana. Height: 6ft 2in (1.83m). Weight: 15st 4lb (97kg).
Roderick Robert Grant started as open-side flanker in all five of Scotland's matches in the IRB Under 19 World Championship in Dubai in April 2006. Later that year he made his international sevens debut for Scotland in the Dubai tournament which opened the IRB's 2006-2007 series, and he continued in the squad for the subsequent tournament in George (South Africa) as well as the later Hong Kong, Adelaide (Australia), London, and Edinburgh events. In February 2007 he was in Scotland's team for the under-20 international against England at Bath. HE returned to the Scotland sevens squad in March 2008 for the IRB tournaments in Hong Kong and Adelaide (Australia). Rugby runs in Roddy's family: his grandfather (Bob) and great-uncle (George) were international referees, the latter was also Scotland full back in 1950 and 1951 and manager of the 1977 Lions in New Zealand, and Roddy's father played for British Universities. Roddy played for Natal Schools in 2004 and 2005 and captained Hilton College's first XV in 2005 as well as being in Natal Sharks' high-performance squad. He joined Border Reivers in summer 2006 as an apprentice, and the following January he made his debut for the professional team as a substitute in the Magners League match against Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade. Roddy, a member of Scottish Rugby's National Academy and the East of Scotland Institute of Sport, represented South Africa at water polo at under-15 and under-16 levels.
International record: Scotland u19, u20 and Scotland sevens (6 caps).