Fergus Scott calls time on a distinguished playing career

Former Glasgow Warriors man still has plenty to offer home club Currie Chieftains as a coach, mentor and administrator

Fergus Scott's playing days might be over, but he still has much to offer Currie Chieftains. Image: Ian Gidney
Fergus Scott's playing days might be over, but he still has much to offer Currie Chieftains. Image: Ian Gidney

FERGUS SCOTT admits watching Currie Chieftains rather than turning out for them last Saturday felt strange, but as he embarks on his coaching career he is now fully focused on helping young players progress on their own rugby journeys.

Given that he seems to have been part of the Scottish rugby landscape for quite some time, it may surprise some to read that Scott, a hooker by trade who latterly played in the back-row, only turned 30 in August.

The former Scotland age-grade and Club XV cap – who spent four years with Glasgow Warriors between 2012 and 2016 – had fully intended to carry on playing for his lifelong club, the Chieftains, in the Premiership in the 2022-23 season, but his body had other ideas.


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“I was taking part in pre-season training over the summer, but I have been carrying, and trying to manage, a pretty serious injury over the last couple of years,” Scott, the younger brother of Leicester Tigers and Scotland’s Matt, explains.

“There has been a disc and a degenerative bone issue in my lower back for a while and, although I could get through training and matches, when it did flare-up last season it got pretty bad and it has been getting worse and worse.

“When it flared up in pre-season I had a chat with the physio at the club and was told that continuing to play with the issue was not good for me long-term and that I was just accelerating the process of the deterioration in my back, so that was a wake up call for me.

“I think in days gone by in my rugby, like most players, I was quite selfish and would always be thinking about the next game, but now I have a young family [he and partner Hollie have a son, Cullen, who turned one earlier this year] and my priorities have shifted.

“It’s not all about me anymore so I took the sensible decision to step back from playing. Don’t get me wrong, it is still very new to me not being out there with the lads on a Saturday, and watching the 1st XV against Jed last weekend was a bit strange, but I have come to terms with the fact that my future lies elsewhere and I am okay with that.

“I had lots of ups and downs in my playing career and dealt with many injuries which meant that, in the end, I only made three professional appearances for Glasgow, but I don’t look back with any regrets and have many great memories.”

 

Scott’s rugby journey began when he was seven-years-old and he joined the minis at Currie where his older brother was playing and his dad was coaching.

“From then on Malleny Park was like a second home really and it was great fun playing up through the mini age groups and then on into my teens,” he recounts.

“My dad began coaching my age-group at under-15 level and then, at under-18s, we reached two Scottish Cup finals. In the first one we lost to a strong Stirling County team, but then the following year we beat Dumfries and I was captain, so that was a very proud moment.

“We also had a great guy called Clint Lanyon really pushing rugby at Currie High School and we ended up winning the Scottish Schools Bowl at under-18 level.”

At that time Scott was earning caps for Scotland at under-17 and 18 levels and, after leaving school in 2010, he played for the senior 1st XV at Currie for almost a season before heading off to Australia to play for Manly.

“I had wanted to train to become a PE teacher, but I did not get interviews for the universities I was looking to go to, so I took the chance to broaden my horizons a bit,” he said.

“Myself and a Currie team mate called Joe Stachan – someone who is a lifelong friend – played for Manly under-20s which was a great experience.

“It set me up really well for playing Scotland under-20s and by the summer of 2012 I was heading to South Africa with that squad for the World Championship [with players like George Turner, Robin Hislop, Jamie Bhatti, Finn Russell and Mark Bennett].

“While out there I was named captain for one of the matches which was another career highlight and when we returned to Scotland I was handed an Academy contract with Glasgow Warriors.

“That was great and while there in the early years I was also playing for Ayr and was named their young player of the season [in 2013-14].

“I felt like I was in good form then and learning my trade as a hooker, but you have to remember that in 2014-15, just before I was given a one year full-time professional contract at Glasgow, they were winning the PRO12 and there were good hookers at the club like Dougie Hall, Pat MacArthur and Fin Gillies.

“Over my three years in the Academy and then one year as a full-time pro at Glasgow, my injuries always came at bad times and that meant the club also brought in the likes of Fraser Brown, Kevin Bryce and George Turner, and they kicked on.

“From the outside, professional sport can look like a great place to be, but it can be tough too and when you are working your way back from injuries it can be quite a lonely place. I have absolutely no bitterness towards those days, though, I gave it a good crack, I played professionally and know I gave it my all.”

 

For the last six years, since leaving the Warriors, Scott has become a key part of things on and off the field for Currie Chieftains.

Most recently on the field, he led the 1st XV on an 18-game winning streak in the Premiership last term. Unfortunately for the Malleny men, they lost the play-off final at home to Marr in April, but he is still proud of the rugby the team played during 2021-22 to cement their status  as one of the best club sides in Scotland.

The Chieftains were also the surprise package of the world famous Melrose Sevens in April, beating a star-studded Co-Optimists guest side in the quarter-finals before eventually going down fighting against eventual winners, the British Army, in the semis.

Off the field, Scott is now development officer at the club and oversees everything rugby-wise from the micros, minis and colts, to the growing women’s and girls section, and the men’s section.

He is also involved in the business-side of things as the Chieftains look to make their facilities a real community hub for the people of Currie and Balerno.

And this season he will be coaching the 2nd XV – known as Currie Chieftains A – alongside former club captain Ross Weston and injured stand-off Gregor Hunter.

Certainly not many 2nd teams will have three ex-Scotland Club XV caps working with them and Scott, who also coaches George Watson’s College under-18s alongside Mike Ker, said:  “With the very experienced Bruce McNaughton taking a well-deserved break from coaching, I’ve been given this opportunity by [1st XV coaches] Mark Cairns and Ally Donaldson to lead the A team and I’ve really enjoyed working with Ross, Gregor and the players so far.

“We start the league programme [in East Reserve League Division One] this coming Saturday at Musselburgh and there are some exciting homegrown players in the squad and lots of guys who are hoping to push on and play in the Premiership.

“I’m also doing some specialist coaching work with the wider senior squad and I am really keen to help current players navigate their own rugby careers in a way that works for them.

“If I can help them enjoy playing as much as I did then I’ll be happy.”


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About Gary Heatly 303 Articles
Gary has loved rugby ever since he can remember and since 2004 he has covered the sport and others in a professional capacity for many publications and websites and runs his own company, GH Media.

5 Comments

  1. A class act. All the very best for your future coaching career, you have certainly got a great coaching team to turn to, from all at Millbrae.

  2. A very good career, summarised well in this article. Thanks.
    I thought he was a neat and efficient hooker, but the last season or two when he reinvented himself as a long haired back row, he seemed liberated into a terrific roaming forward who was hugely influential. Happy as I was for Marr to win the trophy, no one deserved the premiership trophy more than Fergus Scott.

  3. But for the injuries, I am sure Fergus could have joined his brother among the list of capped Scots. A terrific player, a great guy and a credit to himself and his club.

    I am sure he can go on to have a great coaching career and I wish him well – but, Currie will miss him on the park this season, although, that’s some coachng team they have put together for their Seconds.

    • Currie Chieftains are very fortunate to have a string of committed people driving this wonderful community rugby club. Fergus Scott, and his family are a fine example of what club rugby is all about.

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