BT Sport Academy players muscle in on the action

Some six rounds into the nearly-new season and already the latest tranche of BT Sport Academy players are hitting their straps and making strides in senior professional club rugby.

Traditionally the international windows present the best chance for young players to step into the senior professional fray – and that may yet prove to be the case – however four forwards from the 2016/17 intake are already muscling in on the action.

Lewis Wynne, Matt Fagerson and Callum Hunter-Hill have all represented Glasgow Warriors this season, while Murray McCallum has done likewise with Edinburgh Rugby, as they seek to follow in the footsteps of the nine players who earned full-time contracts last season.

Back-row Lewis Wynne (19)

Lewis has made a tremendous start to the current campaign, featuring in more Glasgow Warriors games in 16/17 than any other player, taking in all six rounds of the Guinness PRO12 and the pre-season friendlies.

A member of Stirling County’s National Youth League Cup winning team in 2013, Wynne made his debut for Scotland U20 in the first fixture of the 2015 Six Nations, away to France, yet he would play no further part in the tournament due to a knee injury.

However, upon recovering, he was selected for the World Rugby Under-20 Championship squad and made three starts, including in the emphatic 29-6 victory over Argentina, Scotland's first over the South Americans at this level.

Back-row Matt Fagerson (18)

Matt has made three outings for the Scotstoun club on consecutive weekends since his competitive debut against Ulster; featuring off the bench against Dragons the following week before getting his first start in Saturday’s bonus-point win over Zebre in Parma.

The younger brother of tighthead prop, Zander, Matt first wore Warriors colours in the pre-season fixture vs Canada 'A', scoring a try in the process. Fagerson has also represented Scotland at Scotland at U16 and U18 level, with the U20 campaign looming large.

Lock Callum Hunter-Hill (19)

Callum made his competitive debut in Saturday's bonus-point win on the road against Zebre in Parma, meaning that Townsend’s men did so with three BT Sport Academy players involved.

Having travelled to the Canterbury High Performance Unit in New Zealand - on the prestigious MacPhail Scholarship in 2015 - Hunter-Hill returned to play nine times for Scotland U20 this year, having played 10 times for Scotland U18.

During his time at Stewart’s Melville College in Edinburgh he won the Brewin Dolphin Shield competition and captained the region's U17 and U18 sides.

He then represented Edinburgh Rugby A, before moving west to join the Glasgow & West branch of the BT Sport Academy. He studies Geography and Archaeology alongside his rugby pursuits.

Prop Murray McCallum (20)

Murray also celebrated his competitive debut with a bonus-point win over Italian opposition at the weekend, as an Edinburgh Rugby tighthead replacement against Treviso.

Having represented Scotland through the age-grades, McCallum underlined his credentials for Scotland U20 with a try in the 36-34 victory over Wales before starting each of the 2015 Six Nations Championship games. He then played in four from five in the following World Rugby Under-20 Championship.

McCallum crossed the whitewash in the first game of the 2016 U20 Six Nations to contribute towards the side's historic 24-6 win over England at Broadwood Stadium, and added a further try to his personal tally in the following game against Wales.

He was educated at Woodmill High School in Dunfermline (playing for Dunfermline RFC) before receiving a scholarship to Strathallan School.

Back-row Sam Thomson (22)

Sam made his Glasgow Warriors debut with 49 minutes against Ulster at Scotstoun. The product of Kelvinside Academy, played for Glasgow at U15, U16 and U17, North Midlands at U20, Lydney RFC and Scottish Exiles U18 prior to moving to Worcester, where he studied outdoor adventure leadership and management at the city's university.

He's a qualified canoe/kayak instructor, has passed mountain leader training and is white water safety and rescue qualified.

Sam's dad, Bill Thomson, played for Scottish Colleges, brother Josh played for Glasgow at age grade and his cousin, Murray Smith, used to be one of the top 20 downhill skiers in Canada.