At this moment in time, the future of Scottish Rugby is looking good. Not only with the way in which the current team are playing and gelling with the coaching staff. Also with the multitude of young talent that is quickly progressing through the ranks.
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has worked hard in recent years to pick his squads so that there is a clever blend of experience mixed with up-and-coming talent. By combining the two, Townsend has allowed the young players to come into the international set-up and gain valuable lessons and experience from some of the worlds best players.
These opportunities, matched with excellent performances domestically, have given numerous young Scots a chance to put their hands up to be future Scottish Rugby stars. Here are four that have every chance of being the next best thing in years to come:
21-year-old fullback/wing Rufus McLean may have only made his professional debut for Glasgow Warriors in January of this year. However, since doing so has kicked on and made a name for himself like no other.
McLean has made eight appearances for the Warriors so far. Scoring three tries which includes a mesmerising try against the Dragons in the PRO14. This has already been hailed as a try of the season contender. He has incredible acceleration. This makes him one of the fastest players in UK rugby right now and his smart positional play means he is more than a solid defender.
The Merchiston Castle School graduate was a regular for the Scotland U20 side before signing his contract in Glasgow last year. McLean received his first call-up to the Scotland squad for the 2021 Guinness Six Nations. However, despite not featuring, it can only be a matter of time before he is a true future Scottish Rugby star.
Another product of Merchiston Castle and Glasgow Warriors is a 19-year-old scrum-half, Jamie Dobie. Dobie signed for the Warriors straight from school, making him just one of just a few players to skip an academy system and head straight into a full-time contract.
Having made 19 appearances for Glasgow so far, Dobie is already a highly-anticipated player and many have even speculated at the idea that he could be one of the Lions bolters for the 2021 Tour to South Africa.
Whether or not the Lions is potentially out of his reach at this time in his career, it can not be denied that Dobie has all the credentials to be a future Scottish Rugby star. His range of passing and game management are a far-cry better than would be expected of such a young player. His box-kicking is just another strong asset in his already varied arsenal.
These talents were clearly noticed by Gregor Townsend as Dobie was selected in the squad for the 2021 Six Nations. Much like McLean, he did not feature but is sure to be a regular in the squad for years to come.
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Sale Sharks hooker Ewan Ashman has been a figurehead in the Scotland U20s team for a number of years now. He boasts impressive highlights including finishing top scorer in the 2019 World Rugby U20 Championships with seven tries. He started in all five games of the 2020 Six Nations tournament.
The Canadian-born has featured eight times for Gallagher Premiership side Sale making full use of every minute he has been given. Weighing in at more than 110kg, Ashman is a strong ball carrier. He often beats his defenders and creates opportunities for his teammates. A regular at breaking tackles and looking cleverly for the offload.
Although he still awaits his first international cap, he has trained with the Scotland team for the most recent Autumn Nations Cup and Six Nations. He currently faces stiff competition from the likes of George Turner and David Cherry. However, his chance will come to show he has the potential to be a future Scottish Rugby star.
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The final future Scottish Rugby star on the list is yet another Glasgow Warriors back in the shape of Ross Thompson. The former Stewarts Melville College captain of school made his debut for the Warriors against rivals Edinburgh in January 2021. Since then made 10 appearances in total, six of which he started. In his first start for the side, Thompson racked up 13 points and won himself man-of-the-match at Scotstoun.
In his opening 10 games, the 22-year-old flyhalf has accumulated 66 points – 61 coming from the tee. Thompson’s kicking ability, both from hand and from the tee, is one of his most impressive traits. He remains calm on the ball, doing the basics perfectly. Whilst always looking to switch the tempo of the game to suit his side and get his team going forward.
Thompson has represented Scotland at U16 and U18 level then was named as vice-captain for the 2019 U20 World Championship. His involvement with his national side all the way through makes it fair to assume that Thompson has a part to play at Murrayfield in the future.
Guidance of current number 10s Finn Russell and his Warriors teammate Adam Hastings will be key. This may help Thompson quickly turn into a mercurial flyhalf and one of the most influential players that Scotland has. Despite still waiting for his first call-up to train with the squad, many believe Thompson has what it takes to be a future Scottish Rugby star.
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