SCOTLAND and Glasgow Warriors star Jonny Gray progressed from Calderglen High School in East Kilbride via Hamilton Bulls to the big time – and now another second-row has taken the same route to a national Under-19 cap.
When the age-grade squad was named to travel south to play Waleslast weekend one name jumped off the screen for those of us who follow Tennent’s National League Division Two week-in and week-out.
That name was Euan Ferrie, the 18-year-old Hamilton forward, who has made a seamless transition into senior rugby since the summer and has been involved regularly for the club in the division.
His selection to start the match on Sunday, which resulted in a 31-12 defeat in miserable conditions at Ystrad Mynach, showed young players plying their trade at National Two level that age-grade coaches Sean Lineen and Shade Munro are watching them.
Ferrie was not in the original under-19 training squad, but was selected after impressing for Glasgow and The West in the FOSROC 4s at Oriam. That in itself shows that form and timing counts for everything no matter what level you are playing at.
“I was quite surprised to get called-up after the FOSROC 4s event, but it was a nice surprise and made me realise that people are always watching you,” Ferrie stated. “I had never played any age-grade rugby for Scotland before so it came out of the blue and before I knew it I was heading to Edinburgh for two training days at Murrayfield.
“In those training days I just got my head down and tried to do my best. To then be named in the starting XV to play in Wales was a boost to myself and I played about 50 minutes which was good.
“It was a tough match,” he said of the 31-12 defeat in the Principality. “Wales played well and the game was fast paced, but I think we showed at times what we could do and I took a lot away from the experience. I now just want to learn from that outing and hope to challenge for under-20s caps in the future.”
‘Working with Jonny has been brilliant’
Given that Ferrie was playing in the Hamilton under-18s last term, the way he has adapted to life in senior rugby has impressed Bulls head coach Kenny Brown and others, including the clubs most famous former player.
“The coaches and experienced players who I have been around at Hamilton this season have really helped me get to where I am at the moment,” Ferrie stated. “I just try and learn from everyone and obviously in senior rugby there is a bit more structure and detail at set-piece time so I have been trying to nail that down and improve my physicality.
“Jonny Gray obviously has a connection with the club and he has been down to training a few times and working with him has been brilliant. He is really down to earth and he has picked up on a few things that I could do better or differently and we have worked on them. It is excellent having someone like that to lean on.”
Unlike Gray, who began his rugby journey at Cambuslang, Ferrie’s journey started out at local club East Kilbride when he was five. He enjoyed playing there with his mates and progressed to the under-18 team before deciding, in the summer of 2018, to make the move to Laigh Bent and Hamilton. During the 2018-19 campaign, he played for the Bulls under-18s and then undertook a full pre-season with the senior squad ahead of 2019-20.
“I got a shot against GHK early on this season and things have gone from there,” the apprentice in mechanical engineering explained. “Physicality and speed have been the things to get used to, but I just try and do my job for the team. We have been a bit up and down in our performances [Hamilton are eighth in the table, but have scored the most points out of any team with 390 to date], but the set-up at Hamilton is brilliant and the squad are a great bunch so we are looking to get a good result this weekend before the Christmas break.”
- Peebles v Hamilton Bulls takes place in National League Division Two at The Gytes at 3pm on Saturday