Our man Gary Heatly caught up with 7s guru and 15s star Rory Steele
Steele roars into centurion club during win at Millbrae
Reaching a milestone on the rugby field at any time is special, but doing it while securing a victory away to the previously unbeaten league leaders makes it extra special.
And that is exactly what Rory Steele did, the 27-year-old former Dumfries and Hamilton back coming off the bench during the 25-20 Tennent’s Premiership triumph at Ayr to make his 100th appearance for the first XV last Saturday.
It is around six seasons ago that Rory joined the club from Hamilton - three senior years with his local club Dumfries being followed by one at Laigh Bent - and he has been a key member of things at Myreside ever since.
“It has been a great few years to be involved with the club,” he recounts.
“The obvious highlight from a XVs perspective was winning the National League One title [in 2015/16] after the club had been trying for a while to get back into the top flight.
“We played some good rugby that year and it has been good to be able to test ourselves in the Premiership since then.
“I have also loved being part of the Kings of the Sevens squad over the last few years and we have worked so hard at that, so to be able to lift the overall circuit trophy in 2016/17 and 2017/18 has been amazing."
“The one event that really stands out is of course the Melrose Sevens back in April. After the final whistle I remember it really took a while for it to sink in that we were champions because it is such a tough one to win and the crowd is much bigger than at any of the other events - a special moment.”
Such has been Rory’s contribution to the successful Watsonians sevens teams of the last few years that he has won medals at eight of the 10 Borders tournaments, with just Hawick and Earlston now to add to his collection.
Before his mind returns to sevens in 2019 though there are some crucial XVs fixtures coming up and the full-back/winger is keen to play his part.
“After the loss against Currie Chieftains a few weeks ago we all sat down as a playing group on the Tuesday night and really talked about what we wanted from this season,” he said.
“On our day we know we can compete with anyone, but we have to be more consistent.
“Since then we have had good wins over Edinburgh Accies and Ayr and that has kept us within touching distance of the top four.
“We have a tough trip to Stirling County this weekend, but the guys are looking forward to it and for me personally it is an honour to have played 100 times for the first XV.”
Article by: Gary Heatly (GH Media)