Three of the best bound for South Africa on Macphail Scholarship
Three of the most talented young Scottish Rugby players in the men’s game have been given the opportunity of a lifetime to follow in the footsteps of internationalists and embark on a playing experience in South Africa early next year.
Ben White, Joss Arnold and Jack Craig have been awarded the coveted John Macphail Rugby Scholarship and will spend five months immersed in South Africa’s renowned rugby culture at the high-performance training facility at Stellenbosch University from January next year.
18 year-old loosehead prop Ben White plays regularly for Biggar Rugby after beginning his career at the club from a young age. White has progressed through the Scottish Rugby pathway and played in the under-18s Six Nations last year.
Musselburgh’s Joss Arnold can play as a second-row or flanker and began his rugby journey at Haddington Rugby Club. He has since gone on to play for Edinburgh Under-18s in a recent 1872 victory over Glasgow Warriors and featured for both Scotland Under-17s and Scotland Under-18s.
17 year-old Jack Craig hails from Ayr and was a gold medal winner with Team Scotland in the Commonwealth Youth Games earlier this year. Craig can play across the back line either as an outside centre, wing or full-back and is the brother of former Scotland 7s captain Robbie Fergusson. He has been part of the U18s wider training squad and played in matches against Italy and Wales.
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 and has also played a key role in the development of coaches, including Kenny Murray and Chris Paterson.
The Scholarship ran last year with Guy Kirkpatrick, Monroe Job and Callum Smyth recipients.
Previous recipients of the Scholarship include current Scotland players Grant Gilchrist, George Turner, Jonny Gray and Finn Russell.
The latest group of players become the 17th set of recipients of the programme.
Scottish Rugby Technical & Operations Director, Stephen Gemmell, added: “The Macphail Scholarship consistently delivers a special experience for some of the best young players in the country to develop and grow in a new environment.
“We’d like to thank The Robertson Trust and Macphail family for enabling Ben, Joss and Jack to experience a world class playing environment in South Africa that will enhance them as players and people at the start of their rugby journey.
“The Scholarship has played a vital role in the careers of international players and we know this next set of players will also reap the benefits from this experience.”
Jim McCormick, CEO of the Robertson Trust said: “We are proud to have played a part in the development of the best young players and coaches in Scotland since 2005.
“All at The Robertson Trust would like to wish Ben, Joss and Jack well for their time in South Africa and their careers. The track record of players who have been through the Scholarship speaks for itself and we hope these players will reap similar benefits.
“Playing in South Africa represents a great opportunity for them to develop as players and people. I look forward to following their progress.”
John Macphail Rugby Scholarship recipients
2024: Ben White, Joss Arnold, Jack Craig
2023: Guy Kirkpatrick, Monroe Job, Callum Smyth
2020: Mikey Heron, Cole Lamberton, Adam Scott
2019: Thomas Jeffrey, Jacob Henry, Kristian Kay
2018: 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