Gregor Scougall – Learning from ‘old heads’ at Watsonians
Gregor Scougall has been involved in Super Series for the past two years and was involved in leading Watsonians to victory in last year’s Championship. As the young prop hopes to advance his rugby career, he is taking advantage of the knowledge and experience of the senior players in his squad to become the best player he can be.
Gregor first picked up a rugby ball at his local club Currie – now Currie Chieftains – following in the footsteps of his dad who also played for the club in his day. Moving to George Watson’s College in his third year of secondary school Gregor helped the school secure the U16 Schools Cup title in 2017 and made a position change himself from No 8 to tight-head in his fourth year, and he hasn’t turned back since.
Initially approached by then Watsonians Head Coach Fergus Pringle in his final year of school to join the Super Series side, Scougall opted to play his first year of senior rugby at his home club before going into his first year at U20’s.
“I think it was a bit of a planned situation for me to come into the team and play but I’m really grateful he let me have that year at Currie Chieftains in my first season in adult rugby.
“After the U20 Six Nations I came into the Sprint with Watsonians in 2022, then went to Italy for the U20 Six Nations Summer Series. Once I came back, I played in the main Championship which we managed to win which was pretty class.”
This may only be Scougall’s second year in Super Series rugby, but he is making quite the impact, appearing for the Myreside outfit 32 times since 2022.
Reflecting on his time in the competition so far, he said: “Watsonians are a great club to be at and the coaching team is just brilliant. Nikki Walker is our Head Coach just now after stepping up this Championship, plus I get to work with Richard Sneddon who was my old coach at school plus Dave Hughes and with Fraser Brown coming in, it’s been brilliant.
“I think personally this year has been a bit tougher team wise because we’ve had more injuries compared to last year, but I think that’s actually helped us to get closer as a team because we’re all pitching in and bonding more.
“The unsung heroes of most teams are the people behind the scenes and for us that’s Jono Willis and Duncan Wilson who do tireless work in the background and on match days which helps to pull the whole team together and add to that positive culture.”
Super Series plays a fundamental role in the development of the next generation of rugby players in Scotland however, there is a cohort of individuals who access the highest level of rugby in Scotland as already experienced players. They may use it as an exit route out of the professional game or they may have an advance skillset that allows them to play competitively at that level.
Gregor finds that he often leans on his more experienced teammates to advance his own skill set as he continues to develop himself as a young player.
“You can talk to them about anything, especially for me being right next to Cal (Davies) in every scrum is brilliant, having a guy like him around is great because you can ask him any questions and he’s probably been in that situation himself before in a game. Being able to come in and train with the older players like Cal, who’s played almost every game at Super Series is great, he may be an older player, but he knows his stuff for sure.
“For me being a young front row player, I want to be learning as much as I can from these guys that I’m scrummaging with.
“Looking at other Watsonians players like Finn Duraj, who was brought in this year and has just grown massively, and I think some of that is down to the likes of these older players helping in addition to Fraser Brown coming in to coach. As a seasoned hooker himself and someone who’s still in the professional environment and playing the game, we’re really getting to pick his brain about things, especially us younger players.”
As Gregor currently completes his Business Management degree at Edinburgh Napier University, he is striking the balance between his education and his professional rugby career ambitions.
“It feels like Super Series is quite important for guys like me who have just left the U20 space and are at the 21/22 age group where you’re trying to make a name for yourself and stand out.
“You can see there have been guys who have been offered to train and play with Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors, so we know they’re watching the games and watching our performances. I think it’s a good platform if you want to break into the professional game.
“I’m in that process at the minute, I’m just trying to play consistently and enjoy my rugby and whatever happens, happens. I would love to get a professional contract especially local here in Edinburgh, it’s always a bit tough as a young prop as well because I’ve got a lot to learn and plenty more experience to come so I’m going to keep enjoying my rugby, playing as best I can and see what the future holds.”