Big steps forward for Kirkcaldy's rising prospect
When Harris MacLeod decided that football wasn’t for him, he chose to become a ‘wee blue’ instead. That’s the name given to the players in the mini section at Kirkcaldy RFC, but there’s certainly nothing ‘wee’ about Harris MacLeod anymore.
Now a towering 6ft3 16-year old, the Levenmouth High pupil’s rugby journey has seen him graduate from the CashBack School of Rugby programme, train with Glasgow Warriors and earn selection for Scotland U16.
MacLeod says that these experiences have helped him broaden not just his rugby experience but also other facets of life.
“It was great to be part of the CashBack community project and it has given me opportunities and experiences, including a tour to Japan,” he said.
“The trip out there was a good experience for me, the cultures are very different from ours.
“We got to travel to a local school in Nagasaki and all got given traditional slippers, but I couldn’t get them on because my feet were too big!”
As part of his rugby development, McLeod made the transition from centre from second row, something that has turned out to be a positive move for the young Fifer.
“Becoming a second row was very different, I had to learn how to scrum, lift and jump in line outs, which wasn’t something I had done before,” he said. “I had to get a bit stronger.”
Harris is now part of Scottish Rugby’s Performance Development Program in Caledonia. His performances for Caledonia U16s caught the eye of the Glasgow Warriors selectors, and before too long he was invited out west to perform for the U16s Warriors side where it was clear another step up was encouraged.
“It was a higher level of intensity in training and games,” he said. “We were mixed in with the Glasgow guys and we trained at Broadwood where the facilities were great.”
One thing led to another in his development, and although he was unable to attend the recent U16 Scotland Blues tournament due to a knee injury, he was still pragmatic enough to take it in his stride.
“Picking up knocks are part of the game” he added.
MacLeod admits it was a bit of a shock of being told of his Scotland U16 selection: “We were told during the Warriors camp, one of the coaches came over to say I had been selected for the national U16 team,” he said. “Getting selected was a proud moment for myself as I’d worked hard to achieve that goal.”
While he’s enjoying the direction his career is going in, MacLeod is quick to pay tribute to his boyhood club, Kirkcaldy, for his speedy rise.
“They’ve helped me get to this level of intensity that I’m at now and this level that I can play,” he said.
George Corgie, Vice President and Youth Development Officer at Kirkcaldy said, “We like to give opportunities at Kirkcaldy rugby club.
“We have our buddy system in place to allow the younger players at the club to grow in confidence and we try to make it a comfortable setting for them to come and do something they love to do.
“It’s remarkable story, I suspect Harris probably has to pinch himself in the morning to believe it.
“He knows there are opportunities, but also knows he needs to work hard got get there.
“He’s the kind of guy who will knuckle down and do it – we’re all so proud of him at the club.”