World Rugby U20 Championship: Argentina next up for fit again Cameron Hutchison

Centre determined to make up for lost time after 13 months out with shoulder and knee injuries

Cameron Hutchison
Scotland Under-20s centre Cameron Hutchison has had a frustrating season on the sidelines, but has hit the ground running since his return from injury ***Image: Calum Mackenzie***

BRYAN REDPATH has made six changes to his Scotland Under-20s starting fifteen for this afternoon’s [Sunday] clash against Argentina at the World Rugby U20 Championship in the south of France [kick-off: 1pm GMT]. That means that nine starting players are going to have to front up again, just four days after their tournament opener against Italy.

All eight replacements were involved to some extent on Wednesday. The only two changes to the match-day squad are Marshall Sykes for Ewan Johnston in the second row, and Sam Yawayawa for his Glasgow Hawks team-mate Kyle Rowe on the wing.

Clearly, a huge physical challenge beckons, but, given their nature of the defeat last time out, the players’ ability to recover psychologically within such a short time frame is going to be just as important to the team’s prospects of getting their campaign back on track.


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Silverbacks challenge

Argentina went down 39-18 to England in their tournament opener, with their lack of accuracy with the ball in hand costing them dearly. But, as you would expect with any international team bearing the puma on their chest, they had a lot of bulk and showed plenty of aggression, so this isn’t likely to be a match for the feint-hearted.

One player who is more than ready to go again after 13 frustrating months side-lined by injury is Cameron Hutchison. The outside centre, who demonstrated his effectiveness in heavy traffic with a couple of midfield rampages against Italy, has spent a lot of time since last March working towards this opportunity, and now he is determined to grab it with both hands.

“I ruptured my ACL in the last Six Nations against England and I also had to get a reconstruction on my shoulder a few months later. The knee healed really well but there were a few complications with the shoulder, which put me back for a couple more months – which is why I only came back at the end of last season,” explains the Currie Chieftains prospect.

“It was frustrating, but it’s part of the game,” he adds, with a level of equanimity which not only belies his age but also suggests that he has spent a fair bit of time reconciling himself with his rotten luck.

“I’ve had a few injuries before. I’ve had four surgeries now and you kind of learn from them. Every time you know that an injury is an opportunity to get better by working on other part of your game and developing yourself as an individual and a player.

“It is tough – I’m not going to lie – but at the same time, you can take a lot from the experience.”

The way back

Hutchison started his rugby journey in North Berwick, had two years at George Heriot’s School in Edinburgh (for academic rather than rugby reasons) and then joined Currie at the start of the 2016-17 seasons whilst also becoming a stage three member of the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy set-up. Despite being a year young, he was a shoo-in for the last Under-20s Six Nations, playing at inside centre where his explosive power in heavy traffic is perhaps most effective.

He scored the team’s first try of the tournament when he burst onto a flat pass from five yards out so hard and fast that his Irish opponents had no chance of stopping him. It was a gutsy move – especially as he was already carrying a pretty significant injury.

“Before the Six Nations last year we’d identified that my shoulder needed this full-on reconstruction called a Laterjet, so we made the decision to go ahead and play through the games with the worst case being that I dislocate my shoulder and I need the surgery anyway,” he says.

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The long road

Unfortunately, and unpredictably, that wasn’t “the worst case scenario” because five weeks and three more Under-20 caps later it was his knee that gave way.

“Instead of being six months for a shoulder it was 10 to 12 months for a knee rehab,” he shrugs. “My comeback target was initially the Six Nations this year, but complications with the shoulder meant it got pushed back a bit. Then I was going to try and make the end of the Currie Chieftains season, but I didn’t manage to play any fifteens.

“I got myself to Melrose Sevens, which was a good blow-out, and the first fifteens I played was South Africa [on 4th May] in a warm-up game for these World Championships.

“It’s not easy being injured. You work pretty hard to get fit, but the lack of game time means that your body maybe isn’t quite as beaten up, so hopefully that will be a benefit during the next few weeks,” adds the 19-year-old, who is also studying international business on a part-time basis at Heriot Watt University.

“There has been a lot of work during my rehab to put me in the position that when I got fit I could be thrown straight back into the loop. It is nice to see that plan finally come to fruition.”

Scotland Under-20s team to play Argentina at Stade Aime-Giral in Perpignan, kick-off 1pm GMT (2pm local time) –

15. Paddy Dewhirst (Ayr)

 

14. Logan Trotter (Stirling County)

13. Cameron Hutchison (Currie Chieftains)

12. Stafford McDowall (Ayr) CAPTAIN

11. Sam Yawayawa (Glasgow Hawks)

 

10. Callum McLelland (Edinburgh Rugby)

9. Charlie Chapman (Gloucester)

 

1. Sam Grahamslaw (Leicester Tigers)

2. Finlay Scott (Jed-Forest)

3. Murphy Walker (Strathallan School)

4. Jamie Hodgson (Watsonians)

5. Marshall Sykes (St Joseph’s College)

 6. Guy Graham (Newcastle Falcons)

7. Rory Darge (Melrose)

8. Devante Onojaife (Northampton Saints)

 

Replacements

 

16. Robbie Smith (Ayr)

17. Ross Dunbar (Boroughmuir)

18. Finlay Richardson (Edinburgh Accies)

19. Charlie Jupp (Heriot’s)

20. Martin Hughes (Heriot’s)

21. Charlie Gowling (Stade Francais)

22. Ross Thompson (Glasgow Hawks)

23. Fraser Strachan (Northampton Saints)


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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.