Get to know the centre who has caught Gregor Townsend’s eye

Hotshot: Edinburgh centre Matt Currie

Date of birth 22 February 2001 Born Edinburgh Position Centre Club Edinburgh Country Scotland

How did you get involved in rugby? 

I started at Dumfries Saints minis, my local club. My older brother played and got me into it; I saw him playing and wanted to go along.

What other sports did you play growing up?

Cricket, athletics, a bit of fives – it’s like squash but with your hands. I played that up until I was 18.

Who was your childhood hero? 

In terms of a rugby hero, Brian O’Driscoll. That’s who I watched and wanted to copy when I was younger.

So have you always been a centre? 

When I started playing I was on the wing, but as soon as I went to secondary school I moved to centre and I’ve stayed there ever since. I went to Merchiston, which is big on rugby. There are good facilities and it was good for my development.

Why do you like centre? 

You’re heavily involved in the game but you still get a bit of time and can find yourself in a lot of space, so there’s a chance to exploit defences.

What are your strengths? 

I’d say I’m quite good at reading the game and changing my line off the ball. Defensively, I defend space relatively well. I’m not the quickest but I’m good at moving across. I’m working on my micro skills – kicking and passing – as well as game management and understanding.

The biggest influence on your career? 

Probably my dad, Alan. He’s been really good at traipsing across the country.

What was it like training with Scotland

It was out of the blue. I’d just come back from injury and played in the Super Six for Watsonians, then Gregor Townsend called to ask me to go in for training. It was cool to be in that environment and learn from the best players in the country.

What are your goals for 2022? 

I want to get some game time under my belt after injury and hopefully play a few games for Edinburgh.

What’s your rugby highlight to date? 

My first start for Edinburgh against Zebre. We won that game, it was just a shame we didn’t have fans in.

What do you do away from rugby? 

I’m studying business management at Edinburgh uni. I’m in my third year and I’ve just gone part-time; my first two years were full-time, which was tough. It’s good to have a different focus and it gives a bit of balance.

RW Verdict: The Scotland coaches have seen something they like in the 6ft 2in centre, calling him up to a training camp after three Edinburgh appearances. He’s physical but it’s his subtle skills – his reading of the game – that most stand out.

This article originally appeared in Rugby World’s January 2022 edition.

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