Gregor Hiddleston – Climbing the rugby ladder
From Dumfries Saints to Glasgow Warriors, and everywhere in between – Gregor Hiddleston is a true example of climbing the rugby ladder.
Gregor began his rugby career at his hometown club Dumfries Saints where he played for 12 years. “My older cousin played for the first team when I was coming up through Dumfries, so it was always cool aspiring towards him” said the 20 year old hooker, who made his break into the club’s first XV at the age of 17.
“I think that’s the goal when you’re younger; to play first team for your local club.
As his obvious skill and dedication to the game grew, so did his thirst to excel. He said, “It was at the point where Dumfries is a good level but it’s not high enough to get you [into] Scotland U20s.”
In August 2021, after discussions with Glasgow & the West FOSROC Academy coach Euan Clark and GHA Head Coach Trevor Carmichael, Gregor left the club he had grown up to play at the Tennent’s Premiership level club.
Gregor played 11 games with the Glasgow based club as the world tried to return to a sense of normality after COVID-19 lockdowns. He said, “Obviously there was no rugby for a period of time during Covid and then I came back in and played in the Tennent’s Premiership, so it was quite a big jump.
“The coaches were really good with me and there’s a lot of experienced players at GHA as well. They pushed me hard in training, so it made the move a bit easier.
During his GHA stint at the start of the 2021/22 season, Gregor got the call he had been working for – he was selected for the Scotland U20 Six Nations squad. “Going to U20, I had never played anything like that before – the speed of the game and the physicality was something else”.
“I think the biggest achievement was being picked for that first England game because everyone wanted to play against England, and it was the first match.
“The build-up [to the England game] was really good, bigger than any of the other matches. Also getting to sing Flower of Scotland for the first time and I managed to score at the end as well, it was really cool.”
He wore the thistle with pride and did it not only for his country, but more specifically for those at home. “For me, it was quite an achievement for Dumfries in a way as well, for a boy going from there to play Scotland U20. I like doing it for my club.”
Despite the bright lights and cheering fans, Gregor kept focused. “I think the Under-20 Six Nations was a learning curve for me… I was at the point where I was like ‘ok I need to push on, I’ve got my start here’.”
It was then during his time at GHA that Gregor was approached by Ben Cairns, Head Coach of FOSROC Super6 team Stirling Wolves. He said, “Ben made a real effort of chatting to me. We met before a game one time and he really sold Stirling Wolves to me.” Gregor had other teams after him at the time but said the effort Ben made was what convinced him to join the Stirling outfit.
Gregor has now made 14 appearances for Stirling Wolves and has started 8 out of 9 rounds of the 2022 FOSROC Super6 Championship.
“I think the idea [of Super6] is good because it bridges the gap between amateur and pro.
“You’ll get a head-to-head between a pro hooker one week or a back row the next week. For a young lad coming through or someone who’s played all their games in the Premiership – it’s a big thing.”
During 2022 FOSROC Super6 Championship, Gregor has been one of the leading players in tackling statistics. With 192 players in 2022 FOSROC Super6 Championship, the self-proclaimed “stats guru” currently places third overall in the tackling leader board. He has made 110 tackles in total over eight rounds and has a 97% tackle rate. His success doesn’t stop there, as he has currently won 10 turnovers in eight games, making him second in this table.
“Everyone’s buzzing when [the statistics] come out and you get to go through them and compare them to the week before.”
Gregor took the next big step up the rugby ladder in October when it was announced that he would be signing a partnership contract with professional team Glasgow Warriors. Despite being “over the moon” he said, “It’s about keeping the head down, working hard and seeing what comes.”
“A lot of opportunities do come in rugby so when you get them you’ve just got to grab them with both hands.”