We chat with 17-year-old Jack Brown about his Watsonian FC Debut and what's in store for the future.
A 1st XV debut, school captain and a run out for Edinurgh under 18s in the 1872 Cup, it's been quite a busy start to 2023 for Jack Brown, all at just 17 years old.
Following in the footsteps of some greats, the fullback has started 2023 with a story worthy of a fictional character and he plans on pushing for more this year. The player, who turns 18 in June, is aiming to get his name in the Scotland U18s for Ireland and even a shot at the Super6 come spring.
But all these accolades haven't come without some tough times for the current George Watsons College Student. Last year the back was part of the Scotland U18s, but an injury cut his trip short.
"It was a tough time for me mentally with missing the boys in camp and not being able to play rugby. I loved my time in France, but unfortunately, it didn't end the way I wanted it to."
Of course, Jack was set on a path for the first team when he started playing rugby with Watsonians as a P3 and that's where his desire to play through the ranks sprouted from.
"Getting my first game for Watsonians was an amazing feeling and a real honour for me. I started my rugby career with Watsonians back in P3 and it has always been my goal to play for the 1st XV."
This came for Jack on the back of a school season that wrapped in December and coaches' encouragement set Jack on the hunt for adult rugby.
"The school season came to an end in December. I was given a window of time before the regional fixtures by my academy coaches and school coaches to go and get some exposure into adult rugby.' He continued, "Me and a few of my fellow teammates from my school team started going along to (Watsonians) training sessions."
Jack continued to talk about the competitive nature of the sessions and how much fun it was to be there with the team.
"I was fortunate enough that in my first session, I was able to train with the 1s backs so that I could get used to the calls and how we are looking to play of scrums and lineouts. Other than that, training is mainly mixed between the teams so it's been good getting to know all the boys."
As we've seen so many times, the step up to adult rugby can so often be more of a leap, but Jack is quick to point to the excellent coaching he has received through school and the highly competitive schools game in helping make the jump.
"My school games this year have helped me prepare myself for adult rugby. The pace of the games at school is very high, so that's helped me think on my feet, a few phases ahead, and try to get myself in the right position to make something happen. The school games are also very competitive and physical, which has helped me prepare for the physicalness of the men's game."
The youngster noticed the physical side of the game in his step up to the adult game.
"The step up from school its a huge thing when it comes to adult rugby being physical enough and something that I will have to adapt to so that I can play to the best of my ability."
Jack's hard work hasn't gone unnoticed around Edinburgh either, as he was recently called to represent Edinburgh in the Under 18s 1872 cup game. Edinburgh went on to win the tightly contested game 24-17, with Jack starting the game.
"Representing Edinburgh in the Under-18 1872 was a great privilege and one I'm very grateful for. I was fortunate enough to play in last year's 1872 game, so I was able to use my experience as much as possible to help the boys get over the line. We won the game, which was an amazing feeling. It was a tight game and Glasgow made us work for the victory. The boys worked really hard and we got across the line in the end. I was happy with my performance which was an added bonus to the result".
But with the year not even 50 days old, Jack has already set his sights on the next step. The young fullback hopes to get in on the Super6 action in the Sprint Series, and after that, he hopes to start pushing for the next age grade at the International level.
"All going well, I want to be pushing to get into Scotland 20s as they have their summer campaign in Kenya and I am hoping to get an academy contract with Edinburgh next year.'
Despite the prospect of University on the horizon, Jack wants to stay close to home and focus on his rugby over the next 12 months, and with all his potential, who wouldn't grudge him a gap year?