Heriot’s hooker Elliot Young rides Super6 wave

Teenager eyes Scotland Under-20s call-up

Teenager Elliot Young has impressed for Heriot's in the Super6 Championship. Image: Scottish Rugby/SNS
Teenager Elliot Young has impressed for Heriot's in the Super6 Championship. Image: Scottish Rugby/SNS

WHEN he was in his early teens Elliot Young was a talented surfer, but he decided that his future lay in rugby and he is now making waves in Super6 circles after seamlessly moving from school to senior rugby. The 18-year-old, who left Stewart’s Melville College earlier this year, has come a long way in a short space of time.

After a short stint as emergency cover with Watsonians during the Super6 Sprint Series at the end of his schooldays, he has since impressed for Heriot’s Blues in the Premiership and, in more recent weeks, has been a key member of the Heriot’s squad in the Super6 Championship (scoring three tries for the Goldenacre outfit over the course of the competition).

An ankle injury sustained last weekend in the final regular season Championship match with Watsonians has left him touch and go to be fit for this Friday evening’s rematch at Myreside in the play-off semi-final, but it’s clear that the Scottish rugby public will be hearing about him in the next while.


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The Scotland under-18 cap has his sights on under-20 honours in 2023 with head coach Kenny Murray piecing together his squad presently for a very important year at age-grade level.

Looking back on the last 18 months or so, Dunbar-raised Young said:  “A big thing for me was being asked to captain the Stewart’s Melville College under-18 1st XV in my sixth year at school [2021/22].

“I had joined [from Dunbar Grammar] in the summer of 2020 for my last two years at school, but the first year saw little rugby played due to the pandemic.

“That was frustrating, but I built up a good relationship with the boys and [head of rugby] Stuart Edwards during that year. Then when Edo [Edwards] asked me to be captain in my last year it was a huge honour and something that made me very proud.

“We had a great season and were unbeaten before we lost to Merchiston Castle in the Scottish Schools Cup final at Murrayfield [20-7 in March].

“That result was tough to take, but I was keen to keep taking my rugby forward and the Scotland under-18 trip soon after that match to the Six Nations Festival in France certainly helped me do that. We played big, physical teams in Italy, France and England and I learnt a lot.

“Heading into this season, after a short time at Watsonians, I wasn’t sure exactly where my rugby was going to go, but Edo got me involved with Heriot’s and I have not looked back since.”

 

Young played with Premiership new boys the Blues in the early part of this campaign and feels that he learnt a lot from the older players around him plus coaches Phil Smith and Jamie Parker.

An injury to Heriot’s Super6 squad member Cammy Fenton then opened the part-time professional door for Young and he has walked through it pretty seamlessly.

“I had trained a bit with the Super6 squad before I began to play games for them and all the guys have really helped me to make the move up to this level,” explained Young, who is a Scottish Rugby stage two academy member and converted from the back-row to hooker a couple of years ago.

“Obviously I knew Edo well while the other co-coach Fin Gillies is from Dunbar originally too and played hooker to a high level previously.

Cammy Fenton has also been a help as has Chicken [fellow hooker Michael Liness] and we work on a lot of things together.

“Since coming into the Super6 environment I feel a big ‘work on’ for me has been scrummaging and it is getting better week on week.

“Throwing is obviously a massive thing for a hooker and I am really lucky in the academy that I get to work with former Scotland cap Scott Lawson who is now a throwing coach with Scottish Rugby.

“I have also done some work with [balance coach] Frank Scott and I try and learn from whoever I can to be the best that I can be.”

So, how did Young get into rugby and how did he decide to take it forward rather than his surfing?

“I played rugby at local club Dunbar in East Lothian from a very young age and always enjoyed it alongside surfing,” the youngster, whose mother runs Surf Therapy which helps young people improve their confidence via surfing, said.

“Surfing is a big thing in my family so I was always out on the water and represented Scotland at age-grade level in that sport, but around age 14 I had to decide which sporting path to go down.

“Rugby was the decision I made and, now we are out of the pandemic, I am glad that I did.

“A few months before the pandemic, in December 2019, it was brilliant to win the Scottish Schools Shield at under-16 level with my mates [Dunbar Grammar defeated Hutchesons’ Grammar at Oriam 48-0].

“Moving to the present day and I am just really focused on Heriot’s finishing the Championship well – we showed in the last half hour last week what we can do against Watsonians – and then I really want to push on and trying to get an under-20s squad place for the Six Nations.

“There is a lot of good competition about at hooker in my age group, but that drives me on and I thrive under that kind of pressure.”


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About Gary Heatly 320 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.