Young Prop Signs Pro Deal With Edinburgh

Lewis Niven has followed in the footsteps of Roddy Grant by being awarded a professional contract with Edinburgh a year after winning the John Macphail Scholarship.

The 21-year-old prop has graduated from the National Academy and has agreed a two year deal with Scotland's number one team.

Assistant coach Tom Smith welcomed the news and predicts the youngster from Leith will be an asset in the front row._To listen to the interview please click here.

Smith said: "As part of the National Academy, Lewis has come in and worked with us in live scrummaging._ For someone relatively young to come into such a fairly tough environment he has acquitted himself well and is worthy of an opportunity.

'tight-head prop is very much a key position and it will be interesting to see how he develops._ He will be offered all the necessary support alongside his own work ethic and he has an opportunity to step up and make rugby his professional career."

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Niven, a product of Trinity Academy and the Edinburgh BATS, said: "I"m very grateful to The Robertson Scholarship Trust for giving me the chance to go to New Zealand last year and that experience coupled with support from my coaches in the National Academy and my club coaches and fellow players at Edinburgh Accies, has enabled me to join Edinburgh."

John Macphail won two caps for Scotland as a hooker against England in 1949 and South Africa in 1951 so it is fitting that Gillies, a fellow denizen of the front-row, follows in his wake._ In Macphail's 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. Previous recipients of the award include Niven, Grant and Scotland flanker John Barclay and the players clearly benefited from playing club rugby in New Zealand.

Niven is the latest National Academy graduate to join the professional ranks with Edinburgh with back row forward Stuart McInally and hooker Fraser Brown already on board for next season.