Scotland call-up provides Patrick Harrison with timely boost

22-year-old hooker made his Edinburgh debut aged just 18 but has struggled for game-time over the last three years

Patrick Harrison had two seasons in the Scotland Under-20s set-up and this summer will be his first involvement with the senior squad. Image: © Craig Watson -
Patrick Harrison had two seasons in the Scotland Under-20s set-up and this summer will be his first involvement with the senior squad. Image: © Craig Watson -

PATRICK HARRISON made his Edinburgh debut as an 18-year-old academy player back in March 2021, but has only managed 16 more appearances for the capital club in three full seasons since then. There has also been loan spells with Wasps (one appearance in October 2021) and London Irish (two appearances in September 2022), and he spends two years (12 appearances) in the Scotland Under-20s set-up, but the hooker has certainly not had the volume of game-time you would hope for of a player identified at a young age as having the potential to go a long way in the game.

It has been helpful to rub shoulders and train regularly alongside internationalists Dave Cherry and Ewan Ashman this season – but the presence of those two senior players as well as Scots-qualified Irishman Adam McBurney (who has now joined Connacht) meant that he managed only three bench appearances with a grand total of 38 minutes for the Edinburgh senior team during the last 12 months.

So, he admits to being rather taken aback when he realised that he had missed a call from Gregor Townsend a few weeks back, with selection to the squad for this summer’s tour to the Americas the only possible reason for being contacted by the Scotland head coach.

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“I just got the call on the way back from training,” explained the 22-year-old, who is from farming stock in West Linton and learned his rugby at Peebles. “Gregor had phoned me and it was an unknown number so I didn’t answer it – but I pulled in and saw his face on the profile picture and thought: ‘I’d better phone that number back!’

“So, that was pretty surreal … but it was a nice call to get! I’ve only had a handful of games at Edinburgh, so it wasn’t something I was really thinking about, to be honest, but obviously I am really excited for it.

“I’ve been at Edinburgh four years coming up and that’s been a fair bit of work, so I wouldn’t say it’s come about that quickly, but I’d say this season would be a little bit more frustrating, not getting that many games,” he added. “Having said that, it’s a good chance when you’re not playing to make sure you’re doing as many extras and sessions as you can, so when you get that chance to play you’re ready to go.

“And although I’ve only had three Edinburgh games [this season] there have still been ‘A’ games and Super Series games. I’d say I’ve had enough games. I feel like I’m still getting better,” added Harrison, who is one of only three Borderers in Scotland’s summer tour squad.



With two of the four hookers in the squad – Robbie Smith of Northampton Saints and Dylan Richardson of the Sharks – barred from playing in Scotland’s final tour match against Uruguay on 27th July because it has been scheduled outside the international window, Harrison is guaranteed (fitness permitting) to become a full Scotland cap then at the very latest (it seems likely that his chance will come sooner than that), but he insists that he will fly out to Ottawa on Saturday for the first leg of the trip with no preconceived goals.

“I didn’t actually know that [about the Uruguay game being outside the international window], to be honest,” he said. “The plan is to get as much game-time as possible. That’s the idea – learn as much as I can from this tour and take that into my game when I go back to Edinburgh.”

“It is the first time I have met Robbie and Dylan – they are good lads – and obviously I know Ewan [Ashman] from Edinburgh, so it definitely helps to have that good group to help each other through when we are doing extras, and to pick up on tips off each other, throwing techniques and things like that.”

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About David Barnes 4026 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.


    • Savala played rugby league in Aus before he signed for Edin aged 20. Not that that matters, if he is SQ and good enough, that’s good enough for me

  1. We are supposed to look after players. A number have gone from the World cup to a full season and now this tour. An American football player has a season that runs from September through January. If we want to protect our players and keep them at their best and most importantly protect their future health they MUST be excused from Summer tours.
    Exposing them to a constant 12 month battering is just plain wrong. Bad for them bad for the game and bad for the fans. When do they get time to recover to play at their best?

  2. This guy has the potential to be an outstanding player, and I hope that he gets far more game time next season with Edinburgh. Ashman is clearly the first-choice but I think Harrison should usurp Cherry, with all respect to Dave.

  3. Brilliant to see a genuine Scot getting his chance. Game time – as he admits – is lacking, but hardly his fault. Where are Savala, Sheil, and other genuine Scots? SRU are too short sighted with little public at least, thought of the future unfortunately

    • Curious to know what your definition of a ‘Genuine Scot’ is – considering the difference between those names you listed.

    • Hate to tell you but Savala is Australian and also qualifies for England and Scotland so not sure if he’s quite a ‘genuine Scot’ for you. Also, he doesn’t even play for Edinburgh as he’s moved permanently to Northhampton Saints.

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