Mason Cullen – Bouncing back with Boroughmuir Bears

Mason Cullen – Bouncing back with Boroughmuir Bears

Following a shoulder injury in January 2022, Mason Cullen was determined to challenge and push himself further to achieve his rugby goals – and Boroughmuir Bears was his solution.

Mason began his rugby journey at just five years old at his local club Biggar RFC before moving to Currie – now Currie Chieftains – where he played until his U16 year. A move to Border’s side Jed-Thistle RFC saw him through the rest of his youth rugby journey before he made the step up to senior rugby at Jed-Forest RFC in 2021.

Having missed out on the U20 squad selection the previous year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Mason had his sights set to join the squad in 2022. However, picking up a shoulder injury during an U20 internal squad game put his rugby career on hold for eight months while he recovered, and the young winger was unable to don the Scotland jersey.

“With my shoulder injury I was out for eight months so coming back to rugby I knew I wanted to push myself and I wanted a challenge. I played for Jed-Forest in the Premiership but wanted to test myself and play the best rugby I can and that for me means playing in the Super Series.”

“For me Super Series was the next step. I had wanted to play for Super Series last year, but it wasn’t meant to be but I’m gratefully for the opportunity this year.”

Mason during a 2023 FOSROC Super Series Sprint match against Heriot’s Rugby. Image Credit: Steve Langmead

Using his contacts within the regional academy set-up and the connections he had made earlier in his playing career, Mason got in touch with Boroughmuir Bears Head Coach Graham Shiel at the start of the year who had a spot open in his squad.

Talking about the step up this year from playing in the Premiership compared to Super Series rugby, Mason said: “Super Series rugby is played at a much quicker rate compared to the Premiership. If you make a mistake in a Super Series match it is punished more compared to Premiership where you can maybe get away with giving away a silly penalty or dropping the ball a couple of times, but in Super Series the games are so much tighter that you just can’t afford any slipups in your performance.”

Coming from a big rugby family, it was almost inevitable that Mason would make the step up into the part-time professional game. He is now following in the footsteps of his older brother Reiss Cullen who made his Super Series debut for Watsonians in 2021 and currently plays for the Ayrshire Bulls.

“There is definitely some friendly competitiveness between us both. We both work at my dad’s landscaping company during the week so if we’ve just played against each other that weekend I hear all about it on Monday morning from Reiss.

“I take a lot of inspiration from my brother, he went down south to play for Bristol Bears and then played for Scotland 7’s. I’ve seen firsthand how hard it is to get there and the sacrifice it takes and I’m ready to put in the work.”

“To get to play for your country at the international level is I think the dream for everyone who is playing competitive rugby so if that was in the cards for me that would be brilliant.”

Mason during a 2023 FOSROC Super Series Sprint match against Southern Knights. Image Credit: Rob Gray

Throughout his stint, Mason has appeared 14 times for the Meggetland-based team and has started every game out of the eight 2023 FOSROC Super Series Championship rounds.

Despite being the new kid on the block Mason has made quite an impression, by scoring four tries for the Edinburgh side during this year’s FOSROC Super Series Sprint and currently has two under his belt in this year’s Championship.

Mason’s try scoring prowess even saw him crowned him the winner of the fans’ vote for Try of the Sprint with 60% of the final vote in June.

“We have great followers and fans out there who are engaging with the team and with Super Series to be watching and voting in the Twitter poll. It was an honour to be recognised for my hard work on the field and it goes to show that we have a supportive fanbase out there who are rooting for us to do well.”

With six rounds left of this year’s FOSROC Super Series Championship, Mason is focused on finishing with a bang.

“There have been some results that haven’t been where we want them to be, but we are building on our performances each week and pushing ourselves as a squad.

“We hope to make a big impact in the second half of the Super Series Championship, we have a really tight-knit squad, and all the players and coaches look out for each other so it helps to create a really positive rugby environment.

“Right now I’m enjoying my rugby and playing with Boroughmuir Bears, with the amount of young players we have in our set-up it’s a great place for me to be with regards to my training and goals of moving up into the professional environment.”

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