The Macphail Scholarship returns with three young players bound for South Africa
The prestigious Macphail Scholarship has returned for the first time since 2020 with three promising Scottish Rugby players given the opportunity of a lifetime to follow in the footsteps of internationally capped players and embark on a playing experience in South Africa this month.
Guy Kirkpatrick, Monroe Job, Callum Smyth have been awarded the coveted John Macphail Rugby Scholarship and leave on Monday 23 January. They will spend five months immersed in South Africa’s renowned rugby culture at the high-performance training facility at Stellenbosch University.
Raised in Selkirk, back-rower Monroe Job has been involved in the Scottish Rugby pathway from under-14s and has gone on the play for both Scotland Under-16s and Under-17s. He currently plays for Selkirk’s first team.
Fly-half Guy Kirkpatrick began playing rugby with Heriots and recently played for Edinburgh U19s in the match against Glasgow Warriors at the tail end of last season.
Callum Smyth has been developed through Scottish Rugby’s Scottish Qualified programme and began his rugby with Kettering RFC.
The prop has been fully committed to the Scottish Rugby Age Grade pathway programme and received his first taste of senior rugby in August 2022, making an appearance for the Kettering first team. Smyth was also included in the Scotland U18 Squad for the Home Nations festival in France earlier on in 2022.
The Macphail Scholarship was established in 2005, as a partnership between The Robertson Trust and Scottish Rugby.
Created in memory of ex-Scotland Internationalist John Macphail (1949-1951), the scholarship was developed for talented young players but has also supported coaches, including Mike Blair and Kenny Murray.
The scholarship last ran in 2020 when Mikey Heron, Cole Lamberton, Adam Scott travelled to South Africa but their stay was cut short due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Previous recipients of the scholarship include current Scotland players Grant Gilchrist (2011) George Turner (2011), Jonny Gray (2012) and Finn Russell (2013).
The latest group of players become the 16th set of recipients of a programme.
Scottish Rugby Technical & Operations Director, Stephen Gemmell, added: “Our partnership with The Robertson Trust and Macphail family is invaluable and gives us the opportunity to send three of our most promising young players to a world class playing environment in South Africa to immerse themselves in a fresh challenge with promising players from different countries and cultures.”
“Unfortunately our 2020 group’s visit to Stellenbosch Academy of Sport was cut short due to the pandemic but this year’s cohort will follow in their footsteps where they will be exposed to an environment that will undoubtedly accelerate their development.
“The scholarship has a proven track record of playing a key part in the careers of established professional and international players and we have high hopes for the next set of players who will benefit hugely from this experience.”
Jim McCormick, CEO of the Robertson Trust said: “The John Macphail Scholarship has proved to be instrumental in the development of some of the brightest player and coach prospects in Scotland and The Robertson Trust is incredibly proud to have been part of that journey. The remaining funding allocated from our previous strategy, held over due to the pandemic, will now be used to fund the scholarship in 2023 and 2024.
“All at The Robertson Trust, along with the Macphail family, would like to wish Guy, Monroe and Callum the best of luck, not just for their time in South Africa but as their careers develop.
“I am sure they will all gain a lot from the life-changing opportunities the scholarship offers and I look forward to following their progress.”
John Macphail Rugby Scholarship recipients
2022: Guy Kirkpatrick, Monroe Job, Callum Smyth
2019: Mikey Heron, Cole Lamberton, Adam Scott
2018: Thomas Jeffrey, Jacob Henry, Kristian Kay
2017: Angus Fraser, Andrew Jardine and Guy Kelly
2016: Patrick Kelly, Ross McCann, Mike Blair (coach) and Calum Forrester (coach)
2015: Callum Hunter-Hill, Ben Robbins, Ben Cairns (coach) and Duncan Hodge (coach)
2014: Adam Ashe, Ewan McQuillin, Don Caskie (coach) and Kenny Murray (coach)
2013: Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Finn Russell, Shade Munro (coach) and Alex Duncan (coach)
2012: Jonny Gray, Gregor Hunter, Chris Paterson (coach) and Ben Fisher (coach)
2011: Grant Gilchrist, Harry Leonard, George Turner and Ian Monaghan (coach)
2010: Finlay Gillies
2009: Lewis Niven
2008: Roddy Grant
2007: Kevin Bryce
2006: Graham Hogg
2005: John Barclay