Super Series: Watsonians switch was the boost Scott King needed

Myreside men are looking to make it three from three at start of their title defence

Scott King in action for Watsonians versus Southern Knights last weekend. Image: Craig Watson -

SCOTT KING has moved from inside-centre to the wing for tomorrow night’s Super Series Championship round three clash against Boroughmuir Bears at Myreside (kick-off 7.35m). It might be a change in position after wearing the No 12 jersey in rounds one and two of this Super Series Championship campaign, but he feels right at home regardless of where he lines-up in the Watsonians backline.

“I can’t think of a time since my youth days that I have enjoyed my rugby more than I am doing right now,” he says. “Coming to Watsonians a couple of years ago was one of the best decisions I have ever made and we are determined to do well in the Championship this season.

“We know that we have the squad to compete for the title and in the first two matches we have shown glimpses of what we are all about. We really had to dig in through tough conditions at Ayrshire Bulls – I think I touched the ball twice  but the forwards did a great job.

“And then last Friday against the Knights. we scored some good tries and showed our attacking threat at times, so we have to build on those two games and put in an even better performance against the Bears this weekend.

Super Series Round Two Friday Preview: Watsonians v Boroughmuir Bears

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“Everyone is enjoying playing under Nikki Walker, Richard Snedden and Fraser Brown and I think things are building nicely.”

In 2018-19, while he was in his first year of a five-year applied sports science degree at the University of Edinburgh, King, who had mainly played centre growing up, took his chance on the wing with Heriot’s first XV club team in the Premiership.

That led to him being part of the Scotland under-19s set-up and  he was still part of that set up the following year as well as in the wider Scotland under-20 squad.

“That 2019-20 season before the pandemic came in the March was busy because I was a Stage Three member of the Edinburgh Rugby Academy, was playing for Heriot’s in the first year of Super6 as it was then and was trying to break into the under-20s squad,” explains the 22-year-old, who is now a gym instructor and supervisor at the University of Edinburgh’s Pleasance gym having graduated earlier in the summer.

“I was 24th man a bit during the age-grade Six Nations in 2020 and I was down in Wales in that capacity when we won the last game behind closed doors just before the first lockdown.

“As I was part of the Academy set up I was able to keep training during the early part of Covid and by early 2021 I was with the Scotland under-20s at the Six Nations which was all played in Cardiff.

“We didn’t get the results we wanted there [they lost five from five], apart from matches we were pretty much confined to our hotel, and before the trip I had been told that my Stage Three contract at Edinburgh was not going to be renewed after two years come that summer, so it was quite a difficult time for me.

“On returning from Wales and finishing my Academy contract I wasn’t too sure where my rugby was going to go, I felt a bit low and was in a bit of a rut.”

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That was when then Watsonians Super6 head coach Fergus Pringle, who King had worked with in his teens in East Lothian, picked up the phone and offered him a lifeline at Myreside.

“I was always going to continue playing rugby, I just lacked a bit of direction, but Ferg’s approach and then coming into a really good squad at Watsonians filled with good lads really energised me again,” King explained.

“In the Championship season of 2021 I got regular game time and I was feeling good, my love of the game was back. But in the pre-season before the 2022 Sprint I tore my ACL and was out for 14 months.

“The injury came a day or two after my 21st birthday and was hard to take, but I focused on my rehab and was very diligent with it all.

“I managed to get back in time to play the pre-season game against Heriot’s this year just before the Sprint started. I came on at half-time, took a kick off and carried as hard as I could. I had been nervous before that outing, but it was so good to be back on the pitch.

“It was good to get regular action in the Sprint and I feel like I have hit the ground running in this Championship, so now just want to keep contributing to Watsonians’ success.”

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King’s rugby journey began when he was primary two age and headed along to the minis at local club Preston Lodge.

“My dad had been a rugby player in his day for Penicuik while my brother also played, so it was probably inevitable that I was going to get involved in the sport,” he recounts. “It was really fun and I enjoyed all the mini tournaments and things before I headed to Preston Lodge High School and started playing there too.

“When I was at the high school, Jason Riley [then a Preston Lodge player and now Watsonians first XV club head coach] was the Preston Lodge development officer and that was great.

“He came into the school and did some really good work which meant that we could start fielding a full team plus subs in my year group and that gave us all a buzz and we enjoyed representing the school.

“I started to get involved with the Borders and East Lothian system and the PAiS [Performance Athletes in School] programme was very helpful to me from about the age of 14.

“It allowed some of us to head to Meadowmill Sports Centre in Tranent to work on S & C and extra skills and things like that before school with Fergus Pringle [then East Lothian rugby development officer, now Scotland under-20s forwards coach] and that helped push me on.

“I was working alongside guys like Rory Darge and Roan Frostwick [the former Scotland under-20s scrum-half now in Australia] and we clicked as a group while we also got to see how athletes in hockey, football, basketball and other sports went about things.

“Being involved in that gave me the motivation to take my rugby further and I went on to play for Scotland under-16, 17 and 18 before leaving school and I also was able to play for the Preston Lodge senior first XV after I turned 17 in my sixth year [2017-18] which I really enjoyed, even though I was one of the smallest people on the pitch. It taught me to use my speed and movement more.

“I started the following season with PL too, but as I was at university in Edinburgh by then I switched to doing my ‘extras’ with the Edinburgh Academy and it made sense to join Heriot’s as I aimed to push for Scotland under-19 and under-20 honours and things have gone on from there.”

Super Series Round Two Friday Preview: Watsonians v Boroughmuir Bears

About Gary Heatly 439 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.